“FROM ELVIS WORMS to the Milky Way’s edge, these science stories sparked joy in 2020.” How could I resist that headline? Even though the tagline to this website is “a blog about Elvis Presley’s music and the records it can be found on” and this article has absolutely nothing to do with music or records, they had me at “Elvis worms.”
That was the headline on today’s emailed newsletter from Science News. Clicking the links to that article, I found this sub-title: “The animals’ iridescent scales are reminiscent of sequins on the iconic jumpsuits of The King.” The original article was written by
opening sentence is, “A new look at the critters known as ‘Elvis worms’ has the scale worm family all shook up.” Now how could I resist posting that? Here is a bit more of that article:
“These deep-sea dwellers flaunt glittery, iridescent scales reminiscent of the sequins on Elvis’ iconic jumpsuits. Analysis of the creatures’ genetic makeup shows that Elvis worms comprise four species of scale worm. This analysis places Elvis worms in the Peinaleopolynoe genus of scale worms, which includes two other known species—one found off the coast of Spain, the other off California.
Researchers don’t know why Elvis worms have evolved such eye-catching scales, since the animals live in the dark.
The four newly identified Elvis worm species are scattered across the Pacific, from in Monterey Canyon off California to in the Gulf of California by Mexico and near Costa Rica.
These deep-sea Elvis impersonators share some common traits, such as nine pairs of scales. But each species has its own distinct flare. P. elvisi’s gold and pink iridescent color scheme earned it the honor of keeping the worms’ namesake in its official title. P. orphanae, on the other hand, mostly sports rainbow-sparkled scales of a bluish hue.
The researchers don’t know why Elvis worms have evolved such eye-catching scales, since the animals live in the dark, deep sea. It could just be a side effect of developing thicker scales over time, which happen to refract more light. Thicker scales could come in handy in a fight since Elvis worms are apparently biters, a behavior discovered while watching a worm skirmish.”Tiny, deep-sea dwelling worms flaunt glittery, iridescent scales reminiscent of the decorations on Elvis’s iconic jumpsuits of the 1970s. Click To Tweet