Giant shipworm found in Philippines

The giant shipworm feeds from a valve (marked V) and has two siphons at its tail (marked S) to take in and expel water PNAS.ORG

Scientists have found live specimens of the rare giant shipworm for the first time, in the Philippines. Details of the creature, which can reach up to 1.55m (5ft) in length and 6cm (2.3in) in diameter, were published in a US science journal.

The giant shipworm spends its life encased in a hard shell, submerged head-down in mud, which it feeds on. Though its existence has been known for years, no living specimen had been studied until now.

Despite its name it is actually a bivalve, which is the same group as clams and mussels.

The “rare and enigmatic species”, also known as Kuphus polythamia, is the longest living bivalve known to man, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). BBC

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