Ladies of the Bone-Devouring Worm Prefer Their Boys Tiny and in Harems

ResearchBlogging.orgThese chicas are freaky. But if you lived on a whale vertebrae and eat through bone, perhaps you’d be a little on the kinky side too, right? Osedax, the “bone-devouring” worm is weird. Now, I know long time Deep Sea News readers will be a little used to us talking about odd critters in the ocean, maybe you’ve come to expect it and are no longer shocked. We have even talked quite a bit about our good friend Osedax. But this is one critter that would infuse the pope with fear and disgust.

Rouse et al. 2008 describe yet another new species of bone-devouring zombie worm, Osedax roseus. In fact this is the fifth new species since these strange types of worms were first described in 2004 and was lucky enough to grace the cover of Playworm Biological Bulletin. And rightfully so! This paper was an excellent example of integrative biology. Not only was it a species description, but act now and the authors will throw in a reproductive ecology study for no additional charge! And whats that Craig? You are not going to believe this folks. Not only will you get the species description and reproductive ecology, but we are going to sweeten the pot a little and throw in a little molecular evolution as well! Hot damn! You are not going to find a better “whale” of a deal anywhere else! Oh wait! I have Peter on the phone right now. He’s saying that the authors just opened up a new special offer only for the readers of Deep Sea News. The first 30 commenters will also receive their own plush dwarf male!

Continued under the fold.


Thats correct folks. With every completed reading you will receive your own plush, 100% cotton dwarf male Osedax roseus, complete with hooked chaetae (see photo below) while supplies last. What is really cool is that ALL whale bone-eating worms appear to have dwarf males.

“Such extreme sexual dimorphism involving paedomorphosis is unique among siboglinids, as all other known species of frenulates and vestimentiferans have equal-sized sexes”

And just when you thought these vile creatures couldn’t get more disgusting:

“Mature sperm gather anteriorly in the body of the male and a sperm duct runs into the head (Fig. 7C), where sperm presumably exit the body”.

Yep, the dwarf males of the bone-eating worms jizz out of their heads. Disgusting. Its like puking up your sperm or impregnating your wife by spitting on her ovaries.

Whats worse? There are many (up to 114 in Osedax rubiplumus) males fruiting around inside of a female in what is akin to an internal bukkake-fest with the female enthralled in her detestable orgy, covered in the love ooze of her harem. In fact, Rouse et al. followed the worms through time and found that the larger, older ladies had a larger harem size. I wonder what the relationship between male size and female age is. Are males smaller in younger, smaller females or is there no detectable difference in male size (or sperm output/spermatozoa size) across all size ranges/ages of females?
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Rouse, G.W., Worsaae, K., Johnson, S.B., Jones, W.J., Vrijenhoek, R.C. (2008). Acquisition of Dwarf Male “Harems” by Recently Settled Females of Osedax roseus n. sp. (Siboglinidae; Annelida) . Biological Bulletin, 214(1), 67-82.

Kevin Zelnio (886 Posts)





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18 comments on “Ladies of the Bone-Devouring Worm Prefer Their Boys Tiny and in Harems
  1. “many … males fruiting around inside of a female in what is akin to an internal bukkake-fest with the female enthralled in her detestable orgy, covered in the love ooze of her harem.”

    Wow… Not recommended for reading at 7:30 in the morning over your first mug of coffee, as my computer monitor unfortunately discovered!

  2. I should note that there really isn’t any plush dwarf males but I know there are alot knitters out there reading DSN and will pay for shipping if someone mails me one!

    Heck, I’ll pay $20 to the first knitter to put up the design for an anatomically correct Osedax with a dwarf male! Plus I’ll pay for the shipping to have it. Any takers? I can email you the article.

  3. “Its like puking up your sperm or impregnating your wife by spitting on her ovaries.”

    Oh my goodness! I certainly was not expecting to run across that when I checked the scienceblogs this morning.

  4. So the males live INSIDE the female on top of everything else? What is it with deep sea living and parasitic males? So Polyandrous, dead whale bone eating, parasitic males…. Kinkiest species ever!

  5. Er…looking at the micrographs in the paper and roughing the dimensions, this one would be hard for a knitter to pull off keeping them roughly to scale with each other. Since he’s such a tiny wimp comparatively… 1/60 to 1/80th of her size. Either the female would be 6m long for a 2cm male or the male would be only a few knots for a 20cm female.

  6. I can’t help with the knitting but I’d certainly add my $20 to Kevin’s. Please note Kevin said “anatomically correct” which doesn’t necessarily mean to scale!

  7. The views, opinions, and language of Kevin Zelnio do not reflect the views, opinions, and language of Deep-Sea News, its sponsors, ….

    You give the new guy creative licensee and all of sudden we’re Penthouse.

  8. Yep, the dwarf males of the bone-eating worms jizz out of their heads. Disgusting. Its like puking up your sperm or impregnating your wife by spitting on her ovaries.

    I’m pretty sure I saw this in some anime once.

  9. Please note Kevin said “anatomically correct” which doesn’t necessarily mean to scale!

    What leslie said.

    Craig, you should have known what you were getting yourself into after reading my sea squirt posts…

  10. Yes I’m serious. I’ll write you a check or via paypal, $20 to put the designs up on the web for anyone to use. We can put it up here at Deep Sea News if you don’t have a website or blog of your own. I want a female bone-devouring worm with dwarf male. Dwarf male must have hooked chaetae and females must have all typical zombie worm appearances. I can envision maybe a flap you can turn that reveals the dwarf male attached to the female’s oviduct? lol

    We’ll throw down for a giant isopod too if anyone is interested.

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