Putting off trunk development may make catching prey easier, researchers say
Paul Gonzalez/Stanford University (larva), Chris Patton/Stanford University
Certain marine worms spend their larval phase as little more than a tiny, transparent “swimming head.” A new study explores the genes involved in that headfirst approach to life.
A mud flat in Morro Bay, Calif., is the only known place where this one species of acorn worm, Schizocardium californicum, is found. After digging up the creatures, Paul Gonzalez, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Stanford University, raised hordes of the larvae at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, Calif.
Because a larva and an adult