A spooky new species of worm named after GODZILLA’s King Ghidorah

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When you’re a science nerd, you have to take the opportunities that come your way to work in your fannish love. And that’s exactly what a group of biologists did when they discovered a new species of worm. This newly discovered branching worm has been named Ramisyllis kingghidorahi. Kaiju enthusiasts among us will recognize the reference to Godzillais the famous enemy. All hail the mighty worm King Ghidorah.

MT Aguado/Legendary

King Ghidorah made a recent cinematic appearance in 2019 Godzilla: King of the monsters. The titan, of course, has three heads, two tails, and a dragon form. While this new species of branching worm has only one head, its body can branch into different branches. Thus, evoking the legendary King Ghidorah.

In one versionStudy co-author Professor M. Teresa Aguado further shares:

King Ghidorah is a fictional branching animal that can regenerate its lost extremities, so we thought that was a fitting name for the new branching worm species.

We couldn’t agree more.

New branching worm species named after Godzilla's King Ghidorah
MT Aguado

The name makes more sense because the new worm lives on Sado Island in Japan. And, as the version notes, Godzilla and his nemesis King Ghidorah are “both characters based on Japanese mythology and folklore”.

Scientists had only discovered two species of branching worms before this new variant of the King Ghidorah worm. Worms are sea creatures that have only one head but a body that seems to constantly branch out. Aguado goes on to note, “We were amazed to find another of these bizarre creatures with a single head and a body formed from multiple branches. The first worm was considered unique. This discovery reveals a greater diversity of these tree-like animals than anyone expected.

Close-up of new species of branching worms named after King Ghidorah from Godzilla
MT Aguado

As if they didn’t look scary enough, branching worms “live inside the internal canals of sea sponges.” According to the statement, no one knows the exact nature of the relationship between branching worms and host sponges. Could they share a symbiotic relationship? Or a parasite? And the biggest question in researchers’ minds is “how do worms manage to feed themselves to maintain their huge bodies with only one small mouth in their single head?”

It’s a good question. Could this have something to do with their true identities as monstrous space aliens? Or maybe they thrive because they possess elemental magic? Maybe we’ll find out in the new Godzilla live-action series coming to Apple TV+. This creature looks like it could step into the fray. For now, you can enjoy the full study detailing this branching worm King Ghidorah.

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

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