29 June 2012
Bone-eating 'zombie' worms drill with acid
By Ella Davies
Reporter, BBC Nature, Salzburg, Austria
Bone-eating marine worms use acid to feed on the skeletons of fish and whales
Deep sea worms use acid to eat the bones of seabed skeletons, according to US scientists.
The so-called "zombie worms" of the Osedax family are known to bore into bones and remove nutrients.
Fresh analysis of the root-like tissues the worms use to attach to bones has identified acid-secreting enzymes.
Until now scientists did not understand how the tiny creatures fed on bone, as they lack the body parts needed to "drill" physically. (...)
Full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18594493