Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The man who keeps venomous monsters

Science correspondent
31 October 2017

What is the most terrifying creature in the darkest corner of your imagination?

I tell you now, it may have to go some to beat this beast.

It's a disgusting worm-like organism that grabs you with four metal-reinforced jaws.

Once latched in place, these lances inject you with a paralysing venom that also liquefies your flesh, which the worm then proceeds to suck up. Nice.

Ok, the critter may not be much longer than your little finger, but the close-up image certainly makes the stomach churn.

The bloodworm is one of the many "stars" that will feature in an exhibition dedicated to venomous animals, set to open at London's Natural History Museum (NHM) next week.

If you have an aversion to spiders, snakes, ants, wasps, scorpions, and even to the unassuming platypus (yes, it's also venomous) - then I suggest you don't go.

But if you're fascinated by evolution and some of the remarkable biochemistry it's managed to cook up over the last half-a-billion years - you're unlikely to be disappointed.

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