Marine biologists have discovered two species of worms that get their food from the decaying whale skeletons on the seafloor of the chilly Southern Ocean.
The newly discovered species have been named Osedax antarcticus and Osedax deceptionensis. `Osedax' is a Latin word that means `bone devourer'. These two species secrete certain acids to dissolve decaying whale's skeletons and get a meal.
Biologist Thomas Dahlgren, who co-authored the study, said the two groups could contain several different species.
Sharing the findings, Dahlgren said, "Many of these whale falls have several species on them. Some species are there early on in the decomposition of the bones, while other species seem to prefer later stages."
It is the first time that such organisms have been found in the icy-cold Antarctic waters. Previously known similar organisms are found in warmer areas.
The discovery of the new species appeared in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B1.
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