New species of polychaetes named after Elvis Presley

Hyperaxion May 23, 2020

The tiny animals, which live at the bottom of the sea, have iridescent plated covered shells – which resembles Elvis Presley’s clothes.

A team of researchers from the University of California, in the United States, and from Sorbonne University, in France, identified four new species of polychaetes, annelids that live on the seabed. Because they appear to be covered in colorful sequins, they were called “Elvis” – a tribute to the King of Rock and Roll.

The tiny animals, which live at the bottom of the sea, have iridescent plated covered shells - which resembles Elvis Presley's clothes.
(Credit: ZooKeys).

The study, published in the scientific journal ZooKeys, used DNA sequencing to identify the species, they are Peinaleopolynoe goffrediae, P. mineoi, P. orphanage, and P. elvisi. These animals live in the ocean more than 900 meters below the surface of the Gulf of California.

Scientists have discovered these worms clustered on the seabed around whale carcasses and other organic matter. They also observed that the animals live in waters so deep that there is no light penetration. This is beneficial as other creatures are therefore unable to see their shells shining. In addition, scientists have found that they are unable to see, since they have no eyes.

The function of their scales is not yet known, but they may work as armor against predators. Still, the team – who made a video of the newly discovered polychaetes – highlights that the protective layer is essential for their survival. Watch below:

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