Coloured SEM of Sipunculid peanut worm, Phascolion

Coloured SEM of Sipunculid peanut worm, Phascolion

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This image is part of the feature Aliens On The Beach

Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Peanut worm. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of a sipunculid or "peanut" worm Phascolion sp. This tiny marine worm (phylum: Sipuncula) lives as meiofauna in wet beach sand. On its body can be seen an unidentified hitchhiker. At top is the worm's mouth with curved hooks; there is a narrow elongated neck or introvert which can retract; at bottom is the swollen trunk. The pear- shaped body enables Phascolion to push its way between sand grains, anchor with hooks, then pull its body along. It eats sand and removes micro- organisms in the sand like bacteria. Meiofauna play an essential role in keeping beaches clean. Magnification: x100 at 5x7cm size. x160 at 4x5"

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Keywords: animal, beach fauna, invertebrate, invertebrates, marine meiofauna, meio-fauna, nature, peanut worm, phascolion, sipunculid, sipunculid worm, sipunculoidea, wildlife, worm, zoology

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