What’s 200 feet long, has 18 ways to reproduce, and breaks into pieces? The worm. Vermes.

National Geographic is running a beautiful multimedia story about Hawaii’s Unearthly Worms. This week couldn’t ask for better recommended reading material, except… “where did all the words go?”. Nat Geo has evolved into a little multimedia jukebox right before our eyes. I remember stacks of old National Geographic magazines filled with text. Not any more. They probably have those online.

You can check out the photo gallery and three videos. They let you copy fotos, like this Hawaiian Chaetopterus sp., a relative of a denizen of the Carolina intertidal sandflats. Remember those tubes sticking up out the sand? Each inflow tube had an outflow tube on the other end of a buried papery sac surrounding a truly alien beast. Chaetopterus reminds you of deep-sea worms, but they can be kept alive at room temperatures for a month or more in a glass tube in the aquarium. They feed using a mucous net cast out from their tube. They eat the net every 3 days or so. It’s totally gross. I have been looking for a foto like this for 5 years.

I hope NatGeo intends to make the material available to my laptop, and to blogland. That particular feature alone would easily make it worth the already cheap 15 dollar annual subscription. Let’s see if DSN gets away with posting it here. I got a nice tornado picture, too.

Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski