Sat, Dec 24, 2011 - Page 13 News List

Christmas tree worms look like Christmas trees
聖誕樹蟲 長得像聖誕樹

The spirobranchus giganteus is quite colorful, and looks remarkably like a miniature Christmas tree, hence its common name in English is Christmas tree worm.
聖誕樹蟲的顏色相當豔麗,宛如是另類迷你的聖誕樹,其英文俗名就稱為聖誕樹蟲。

Photo Courtesty of Lee Chih-ying
照片:由李志穎提供

Surrounded by ocean, Taiwan is rich in ecological resources, including a resplendently unique organism that at first looks like a miniature Christmas tree. The common English name for the spirobranchus giganteus is Christmas tree worm. What is most surprising is that the Christmas tree worm is an annelid and a distant relative of the soil-covered earthworm.

The Christmas tree worm embeds itself inside the top part of choral reefs, and secretes a calcium-rich tube around its body, which serves as the worm’s home and protection. Dwelling inside the top of the coral reef, it subsists by filter feeding. The most beautiful part of the worm are its two Christmas-tree shaped “crowns,” which are actually highly modified palps located at the front of the mouth that allow any prey trapped inside of them to be transported to the worm’s mouth, but they are also used for respiration.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY KYLE JEFFCOAT)

環海的台灣,沿海有豐富的生態資源,包括一種豔麗非凡、乍看之下宛如迷你聖誕樹的生物,它就是英文俗名稱為「聖誕樹蟲」的旋鰓蟲。令人驚訝的是,屬於環節動物的聖誕樹蟲,遠房親戚竟是「灰頭土臉」的蚯蚓。

聖誕樹蟲會嵌入大型珊瑚的上方,身體分泌出一條鈣質的管腔,固定於珊瑚上面,做為住所並具有保護自己的作用,「定棲」在珊瑚上面的聖誕樹蟲,濾食水中的微生物來維生,這種生物顏色最豔麗的部分,是兩個組成狀似聖誕樹的「冠」,這種冠是高度進化的「口前葉觸鬚」,用來困住與運送微生物到口部,同時具有呼吸功能。

(自由時報記者張瑞楨)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. distant relative n. phr.

遠房親戚 (yuan3 fang2 qin1 qi1)

例:I just found out one of my good friends is actually a distant relative.

(我剛發現我一位好朋友其實是我的遠房親戚。)

2. earthworm n.

蚯蚓 (qiu1 yin3)

例: There are always so many earthworms on the sidewalk whenever it rains.

(一下雨人行道就出現好多蚯蚓。)

3. secrete v.

分泌 (fen1 mi4)

例: The human body secretes sweat from two kinds of sweat glands.

(人體的汗液基本上從兩種汗腺分泌。)


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