A rare giant shipworm found for the first time in Philippines, scientists have found live specimens of the rare worm for the first time, now center for thorough research.Experts have discovered the creature, which can reach up to 1.55m (5ft) in length and 6cm (2.3in) in diameter, as published in a US science journal. According to the journal, the giant shipworm spends its life encased in a hard shell, submerged head-down in mud.
Though, its existence has been known for years now, but there’s no living specimen had been studied until its discovery in Manila.Despite its name, the giant shipworm is actually a bivalve – the same group as clams and mussels.
Based on the study, the “rare and enigmatic species”, also known as Kuphus polythamia, is the longest living bivalve known to man.
The full study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
According to chief author of the report, Daniel Distel the newly discovered creature can last a long time.“The strange shells have been found for centuries, because they are “very sturdy and they last a long time,” said Distel.
“But we’ve never known where to find them,” he added.
The discovery of giant shipworms was came about by chance, when Dr. Distel’s team was working in the Philippines with local scientists.“One of our students came in and said, ‘hey, look at this’ – he’d found this really great video on YouTube,” Distel said.
“We searched the literature and the scientific sources for years, and then we find it on YouTube. It’s the miracle of social media,” he added.
In a BBC report, it noted that Distel led a team of scientists from the US, the Philippines and France to find and collect five giant shipworms in Mindanao in a marine bay.Furthermore, Distel, who works at Ocean Genome Legacy – a research group and “gene bank”, storing the genetic material of rare ocean creatures – it was a major find.
However, the scientists are keeping the exact location secret, to protect the security of the incredible worms.