<p id="docs-internal-guid-772ce2e1-79c4-b620-3ffb-fe24ca9d1f95" dir="ltr"><strong><a href="http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2010/04/19/ever-since-there-have-been-whales-there-have-been-osedax-worms-eating-their-bones/">Bone-eating worms</a> make a living off of the stripped skeletons of dead whales, secreting acids to dissolve their way to a good meal.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">There are only five formally described species in the world, and researchers have recently added two new members—<em>Osedax antarcticus</em> (pictured) and <em>O. deceptionensis</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">The chances are good that this group could turn out to have many species in it, said Thomas Dahlgren, a marine biologist at <a href="http://uni.no/">Uni Research</a> in Bergen, Norway, and a co-author of a study describing the new species.</p><p dir="ltr">New <em>Osedax </em>species turn up on almost every whale fall investigated, the study authors write in the journal <em><a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/">Proceedings of the Royal Society B</a></em>.</p><p dir="ltr">"Many of these whale falls have several species on them," Dahlgren added. Some are found on the whale at the same time, while others are found sequentially. "Some species are there early on in the decomposition of the bones, while other species seem to prefer later stages."</p><p dir="ltr"><em>—Jane J. Lee</em></p>

A New Member

Bone-eating worms make a living off of the stripped skeletons of dead whales, secreting acids to dissolve their way to a good meal.

There are only five formally described species in the world, and researchers have recently added two new members—Osedax antarcticus (pictured) and O. deceptionensis.

The chances are good that this group could turn out to have many species in it, said Thomas Dahlgren, a marine biologist at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway, and a co-author of a study describing the new species.

New Osedax species turn up on almost every whale fall investigated, the study authors write in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Many of these whale falls have several species on them," Dahlgren added. Some are found on the whale at the same time, while others are found sequentially. "Some species are there early on in the decomposition of the bones, while other species seem to prefer later stages."

—Jane J. Lee

Photograph courtesy Thomas Dahlgren

New Species of Naked Bone-Eating Worms in Antarctica

Researchers find two new species of "naked" bone-eating worms in Antarctica.

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet