This Ribbon Worm Is Terrifying, Gross, And Honestly, We Probably Shouldn't Even Be Looking At It — VIDEO
Prepare to be horrified. We can guarantee that this video is the grossest thing you see all day, so proceed with caution. It's a video of a ribbon worm, and it has been circulating the internet in all of its squirmy, wormy, slimy glory. The worm itself is actually kind of fun. In fact, it's slightly endearing. That is, until it pulls a Spider-Man are shoots out a web of terrifying white goop that encases part of the hand of the guy holding it. Just... ew. This is wrong. I am not OK with any of this.
The weird white stuff you see shooting out of it's... nose? Mouth? Butt?... is part of a process called eversion, which happens when certain creatures, like sea cucumbers, extend their proboscis (a tubular nose-like organ). Different species have different reasons for using eversion, but according to IFL Science, this slimy little thing is using his nose tube to sense if the hand he's sitting on is good enough to eat (eep).
There has also been a lot of debate on the internet about the species of this worm. While the consensus is that the little guy in the video is some type of ribbon weird, many people were taken aback by the unusual branching shape its proboscis took when it exploded out of its body.
The best suggestion seems to come from Reddit user Exxocet, who claims that the species is Gorgonorhynchus. He quoted The Discovery of the Nemertean Gorgonorhynchus and Its Bearing on Evolutionary Theory by J. F. G. Wheeler:
"The proboscis of the nemerteans usually consists of an introverted tube in a proboscis sheath, and it is everted like a finger of a glove that has been pulled "outside in".
This new nemertean has also a proboscis which is retractile within a proboscis sheath, but the proboscis is branched. The branching is of the dichotomous type. During eversion, which takes place almost explosively, the short main trunk first appears. This then divides and the finer and filter branches appear. Since each one of these is the result of an evagination, the effect is almost indescribable. It is as if a large number of lively, wriggling, minunte worms had been shot out."