Pigbutt Worms Catch Food With Their Mucus

Some animals get amazing names when they are discovered. Others are not so lucky. Unfortunately, the pigbutt worm did not have a lot of luck. But when you look like a butt… and a pig, what else can you expect?


A pigbutt worm. Photo by Casey Dunn.

Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, actually means resembling a pig’s butt. The acorn-sized member of the worm family actually gets its food by releasing a mucus trap that, well traps, any unsuspecting prey. This mucus traps any poor plankton that is near the Chaetopterus pugaporcinus as it celebrates its catch.

Just discovered in the past few years, the researchers that discovered it described it as an “extraordinary new species”. But there are a lot of things that researchers still do not understand about the weird worm.

Each pigbutt worm that has been found and studied has displayed characteristics of both an adult and a larval organism. This has led researchers to question whether they are looking at a larval form of another sea worm or an adult worm of its own species. If they are just larval, their size is remarkably huge. However, if they are adult organisms researchers say that their habitat preference and body shape are also strange.

In other words, who knows what their weirdos are up to…