Deadly Worms and Ravenous Sea Stars Engage in a Monster Feeding Frenzy

Illustration for article titled Deadly Worms and Ravenous Sea Stars Engage in a Monster Feeding Frenzy

It's a once in a decade occurrence: a bounty of meat falls to Antarctica's ocean floor, prompting it voracious inhabitants to descend in a frenzy of flesh-skewering sea worms, pulsating sea stars, and giant underwater spiders.


The BBC captured this rare timelapse video of Antarctic creatures feeding on a fallen seal carcass. Its estimated that they see this kind of bounty just once every ten years or so, and the critters have taken the opportunity to swarm the body, picking it down to its skeleton. Several species of worms from the phylum Nemertea use their sometimes venomous proboscises to pierce the seal's flesh, while starfish attach themselves to the carcass, pushing their stomachs out through their mouths to feed. Sea urchins and sea spiders, the latter of which can grow up to 30cm across, also flourish here, with no crabs and few fish.

Be warned, the video below contains graphic images of these animals feeding, but it's also fascinating to watch them pick apart a rare, meaty find.

Monster worm and sea star frenzy [BBC]



Do not laugh when the herse goes by

for you may be the next to die

They wrap you up in a big black sheet

And drop you down about six feet

All goes well for about a week,

Then your coffin starts to leak.

And the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out,

The worms play pinicole on your snout.

They eat your eyes and they eat you nose,

They eat the jelly between you toes,