Evolution, stop it: the back of a sea worm, separate from its owner, is looking for love (2 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
12 December 2023

The expression “Find adventure on the backside” began to sparkle with new colors.

How good it is that people inherited sexual reproduction from nature! Marine worms of the species Megasyllis nipponica were much less fortunate. An organ called the “stolon” will melt away from the back of the worm. The organ grows from the first day a new worm is born. Over time, the stolon acquires bristles, antennae and eyes. Having filled with gametes (sex cells), the organ separates from its carrier and goes on a free swim in search of another stolon, which contains the sex cells of the opposite sex.

At this time, the worm grows a new stolon, which will also begin to swim freely when it acquires eyes and antennae.

Stages of stolon growth

Scientists from the University of Tokyo (Japan), whose article was published in the journal Scientific Reports, were for the first time able to understand in detail what exactly was happening in the body of Megasyllis nipponica.

According to scientists, this method of reproduction protects the worm from all the risks associated with finding a mate, reproduction and subsequent birth. A new organism grows from the separated female stolon. The male organ, having fulfilled its function, dies.

But scientists cannot yet understand exactly how sex is determined in worms.

“We would like to clarify the mechanism of sex determination and endocrine regulation underlying the reproductive cycles of sillids,” added Tora Miura, professor at the University of Tokyo.

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