Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I'm very much an independent learner. I like to learn more about things that I'm interested in. Cell function, although important, not high on my list. Cool animals, I could read for hours. In the marine tank in 327 Kettering an elusive creepy crawler pops up every now and again when I'm cleaning to say hello. I had no idea what it was, so I spent one afternoon with my friend and we tried to identify this creature. With help from our very own resident Darwin, Dr. Stoffer, we got a general idea where to look. As it turned out we have an eight inch fire worm living in our tank! No one for sure knows how he got there, but he is definitely the king of that tank. While reading up on this monster I learned some crazy things I didn’t know, but I’m sure glad I know now. This fuzzy worm is called a fire worm because of the burning sensation that is caused when you touch it. It has what looks like white fluff around it, which are actually like tiny little hollow needles filled with poison! This toxin delivers a terrible burning sensation that can last for several days. Unlike a jellyfish sting that is usually forgotten by the next day. These little bristles pierce the skin and then break off inside. I found one solution in a field guide to removing these mini daggers, tape. Handy dandy tape works like waxing off leg hair; it grips and rips. Just adding to your pleasant experience. This terrorist of the sea floor is found in shallow waters, near coral, rocks, and other hard substrate it can hide under. It also can burrow under the sand to hide. So next time you find a cute little fuzzy underwater caterpillar I’d think twice before picking it up, or swimming near it! I know I probably wont be sticking my hands in that marine tank every again!