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Dracula's Pet Worm

Science Seen | Dracula's Pet Worm © COE UCSB  At first glance, it looks like a red-hot chili pepper, but in fact, it's a 10-inch bloodworm that normally lives in seabed sediment. Note the copper fangs that jut from its proboscis. Its discoverers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say that its large copper content normally would be toxic to such an animal. However, this worm not only endures the copper, but it might also use it to activate its protein-based venom. It's

The Scientist Staff

Science Seen | Dracula's Pet Worm


© COE UCSB
 At first glance, it looks like a red-hot chili pepper, but in fact, it's a 10-inch bloodworm that normally lives in seabed sediment. Note the copper fangs that jut from its proboscis. Its discoverers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say that its large copper content normally would be toxic to such an animal. However, this worm not only endures the copper, but it might also use it to activate its protein-based venom. It's one of the few cases of an organism that biomineralizes copper in large quantities. Perhaps the copper keeps its fangs cavity-free.

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