Bizarre sea worm with regenerative butts named after Godzilla’s monstrous enemy

The newly discovered branched sea worm Ramisyllis kingghidorahi. In this image, worms single head (left) and asymmetrical rear branches (right) are clearly visible. (Image credit: M Aguado)

A newly discovered species of branched sea worm has dozens of regenerative hindquarters that loosen and swim off during reproduction. This strange superpower made the beast’s discoverers name it after Godzilla’s monstrous multi-headed enemy, King Ghidorah.

In total, 25 of the new worms are named Ramisyllis kingghidorahi after the villain kaiju, were found alive inside a sea sponge in Japan in October 2019. Unlike their namesake, which has three heads and two tails, R. kingghidorahi have only one head but have several posterior branches which grow to fill narrow tubes inside their host fungi which were between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 centimeters) long.

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