Parchment worms are best pinched in the dark
Tube-dwellers make a mysterious glowing mucus
By Susan Milius, 10:54 AM July 24, 2014
Oh go ahead. Squeeze the soft tube of a parchment worm. But gently.
If it’s dark, “you will see puffs of blue mucus come out,” says Dimitri Deheyn. And the blue is glowing.
How the ocean-dwelling Chaetopterus parchment worms create the long-lasting glow — and the soft-but-tough tubes themselves — are still substantial mysteries, Deheyn says.
Parchment worms spend their adult lives inside the U-shaped tubes they create, with just the rounded base buried. They live in sea bottoms around the world...
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