SCIENCE

Weird Green Ribbon Worm Caught On Video In Taiwan

06/08/2015 01:13 am ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015

For one fisherman in Penghu, Taiwan, the "catch of the day" wasn't something he snagged with his rod, but a creature he caught on video.

Wei Cheng Jian captured footage of a long green worm-like animal with a pink protrusion that looks like another worm crawling out of it.

The creature is believed to be a ribbon worm, or nemertea, according to the Telegraph. The ribbon worm generally lives at sea but has been known to crawl onto land -- possibly just to give people nightmares.

The pink worm-like appendage that appears to have a mind of its own is called a proboscis, which the worm uses to obtain food.

Smithsonian reports that when attacking prey, the ribbon worm will compress its body to push out the proboscis, "like the finger of a latex glove turned inside-out."

The proboscis of some types of ribbon worms are sticky, while some have suckers for grasping prey and others have a spike for stabbing, Smithsonian said.

UPI reports that ribbon worms average 7.9 inches long. While there is no size given for the one in the video, the fishing pole next to it suggests it's roughly two to three feet long.

Some types of ribbon worms are much longer. According to Guinness World Records, a species of ribbon worm known as the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus) is the longest of all worms. A specimen that washed ashore in the U.K. in 1864 was measured at 180 feet in length.

For more on the ribbon worm, Smithsonian has a list of 14 facts about the creature.

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