Zooillogix would like to take a moment to introduce you to Parborlasia corrugatus, a proboscis worm residing in the waters of Antarctica. We should note that we were inspired to learn more about these cute little fellows from this outstanding pic we saw on Ugly Overload.

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Photo credit Jeff Miller

P. corrugatus grows up to two meters in length, comes in a variety of delightful colors, and kills its prey by rapidly and repeatedly stabbing it with a harpoon-like barbed proboscis! This proboscis has adhesive secretions which secure it in place. When threatened, this fast moving giant death worm secretes an acidic mucus that predators avoid. Interestingly, I believe I learned about P. corrugatus inadvertently almost three months ago when I defeated him in Level 9 of Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360.

Both a hunter and scavenger, worm-monster eats almost anything, including sponges, jellyfish, diatoms, seastars, anemones, polychaete worms, mollusks, crustaceans, fish and divers. The worms frequently engage in feeding frenzies around carcasses, forming what scientists refer to as “a rubber band ball of terror.”

Lacking a respiratory system, P. corrugatus absorbs oxygen through its skin. When oxygen levels drop, it flattens and elongates to increase surface area for absorption and minimize the distance oxygen must travel within the body. It’s flexible body also allows it to swallow food almost as a large as itself.

more pics below the fold

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P. corrugatus joins in on the feeding frenzy when the small seastar Odontaster validus attacks en masse the large seastar Acodontaster conspicuus

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Fish egg dinner

Here it is feasting on Benny’s brain in one of his nightmares

Ref – –

Brueggeman, Peter, 1998. Underwater Field Guide to Ross Island & McMurdo Sound, Antarctica


  1. #1 Sven DiMilo
    September 5, 2008

    This post is the last straw! I’m bookmarking Zooillogix!

  2. #2 Michael
    September 5, 2008

    “Giant Death Worm” is a much better popular name than the boring “Giant Antarctic Marine Worm”. How do we go about getting that changed?

  3. #3 Myles
    September 5, 2008

    I prefer ‘Giant Deadly Antarctic Marine Death Worm of Death’, just in case no one noticed the most important part.

  4. #4 scicurious
    September 5, 2008

    I want to call it “Giant Death Worm: Destroyer of Worlds”. Thanks, Zooillogix! Very cool post!

  5. #5 Mrs Tilton
    September 5, 2008


    I’m bookmarking Zooillogix!

    What, you’re only just doing this now?!

    Oh well. Check out the archives. Do so on an empty stomach. Or, if you’re a bit more adventurous, on a date.

  6. #6 Alan Kellogg
    September 5, 2008

    The Lasagna of Doom

  7. #7 Olga
    September 6, 2008

    I think I’ve seen it several times in all these movies about deep ocean. Nobody talks about them though (and rarely writes). Very interesting, I have to read about the species more. Thanks

  8. #8 Crusader
    September 6, 2008

    Looks like DNC protesters.

  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    September 7, 2008

    Oh, I’m familiar with what goes on here, just always taken an indirect route to get here. I’m very stingy with my bookmarks.

  10. #10 Rachel
    September 7, 2008

    Wow these are really interesting Thanks!

  11. #11 DDeden
    September 8, 2008

    Weeeeirdo water worms…

  12. #12 lkw
    September 9, 2008

    Vermicious Knids!

  13. #13 Megan
    September 9, 2008

    This species does not have a “harpoon-like barbed proboscis”. It has a glandular proboscis, no stylette.

  14. #14 Andrew
    September 9, 2008

    megan – interesting, we got most of the info from here http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1270&context=sio/lib

    you confident they are wrong? if so, let’s correct them.

  15. #15 Liz
    September 10, 2008

    “…forming what scientists refer to as “a rubber band ball of terror.””

    What scientists? Us?

  16. #16 Andrew
    September 10, 2008

    Yes Liz. You specifically.

  17. #17 ?ark?
    September 10, 2008

    latest picture is beatiful good

  18. #18 Jenbug
    September 14, 2008

    I dunno, if they can come up with ‘Vampire Squid from Hell’ for an individual creature maybe we can get this worm wad renamed ‘Satan’s Sock-Ball.’ Come on guys, let’s give it a go! Anybody know Latin?

  19. #19 Amanda Pittar
    October 16, 2008

    Thank you for a fantastic site and completely revolting and compulsively facinating pics. My children love them and their Mother does too. How to make science interesting. Does anyone have pics of the fairly newly discovered shrimp – crustacean thingy which lives off New Zealand in very deep ( possibly hot?) waters. There was one in Auckland Museum. It is shudderworthy.Too scary for children ( and some adults)

  20. #20 perde
    December 7, 2008


    btw wat does this worm do to your system???

  21. #21 Myles
    December 9, 2008

    er… soccus-globus ditis = the slipper-ball of Pluto?

    I guess “Vermisglobus Plutonius” works (Hellish Wormball).

    As for the actual scientific name, ‘corrugatus’ means ‘wrinkled’, but I have no idea about ‘parborlasia’. I like V. Plutonius personally.

  22. #22 evden eve nakliyat
    February 17, 2009

    evden eve nakliyat

  23. #23 evden eve nakliyat
    February 17, 2009

    evden eve nakliyat

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