Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
03 February 2004

Images related to the MBARI news release
Whale carcass yields bone-devouring worms

Note: These images may not be copied, reprinted, or used without explicit permission from MBARI. Members of the media needing higher-resolution versions should contact Kim Fulton-Bennett, kfb@mbari.org, 831-775-1835.


Image credit: (c) 2003 Greg Rouse

Laboratory photo of one of the newly discovered bone-eating worms, Osedax frankpressi, which has been removed from a whale bone. Normally only the red and white plumes and the pinkish trunk would be visible. The greenish roots and whitish ovary would be hidden inside the bone.


Image credit: © 2003 Greg Rouse

Illustration of one of the newly discovered bone-eating worms, Osedax frankpressi, showing the large female worms in their tubes and with whalebone 'cut away' to reveal their large ovisacs and extensive roots that invade the bone. The small males live in the tubes of the females and are shown as 'blowups' with their relative positions in the tubes indicated by the dark lines. Females are shown as either contracted into their tubes, as occurs when they are disturbed, or fully extended with their feathery plumes out in the water. Painting by Howard Hamon.


Image credit: © 2003 Greg Rouse

Illustration of one of the newly discovered bone-eating worms, Osedax rubiplumus, showing the large female worms in their tubes and with whalebone 'cut away' to reveal their large ovisacs and extensive roots that invade the bone. The small males live in the tubes of the females and are shown as 'blowups' with their relative positions in the tubes indicated by the dark lines. Females are shown as either contracted into their tubes, as occurs when they are disturbed, or fully extended with their feathery plumes out in the water. Painting by Howard Hamon.


Image credit: © 2003 MBARI

A whale bone covered with O. frankpressi worms being collected by the manipulator arm on MBARI's remotely operated vehicle Tiburon almost three kilometers down in Monterey Canyon.


Image credit: (c) 2003 MBARI

Close up view of a whale bone covered with O. frankpressi worms at the whale fall in Monterey Canyon, showing their red and white plumes, which are believed to function as gills.


Image credit: © 2002 MBARI

Photomontage of the whale fall in Monterey Canyon, as it appeared in February 2002, soon after its discovery. Note the large numbers of red worms carpeting its body. The small pink animals in the foreground are scavenging sea cucumbers.


Image credit: © 2002 MBARI

View of the skull of the dead whale in Monterey Canyon, as it appeared in October 2002. Note the purple and white octopus, one of many animals that have colonized the whale fall. The orange float supports a homing beacon that allows scientists to find the whale each time they dive at this site, at almost 3,000 meters depth.

Last updated: Apr. 10, 2012