Thursday, February 05, 2009

Science Geek Bling

So what do you give the girl who has everything? How about a necklace with a live worm in it? Kind of creepy, but I guess that's the sort of thing kids are into these days. Sarah Ray brought home a small vial on a string with a live Lumbriculus variegatus worm inside. Her science teacher passed them out to all of the students.

Lumbriculus variegatus, sometimes known as blackworm (or even California blackworm), is a type of oligochaete that lives in shallow water marshes, ponds, and swamps, feeding on microorganisms and organic material. They live throughout North America and Europe.

On average, an adult blackworm can have from 150 segments to 250, each of which has the ability to regenerate into a whole new individual when separated from the rest of the animal.

  • When touched, Lumbriculus will attempt to escape, either by swimming in a helical ("cork-screw") fashion, or by reversing its body.
  • The photoreceptors can detect shadows and movement. The posterior end lifts out of the water and forms a right angle. It is then exposed to air and is used to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Although, this exposes its posterior to its enemies.
  • If the photoreceptors detect a shadow or movement, the posterior rapidly shortens in response to a threat.
I wonder if Molly would like something like this for Valentine's Day?

1 comment:

DJ said...

Worms ARE the new diamonds. =)