Barry the Giant Sea Worm: Fantasy Turns Real in the U.K.

By Rachel Cernansky | April 9, 2009 11:37 am

worm1.jpgIf ever there was a real-life sea monster, it’s Barry the giant sea worm. Discovered living in a U.K. aquarium, he is four feet long and vicious: He not only attacked the aquarium’s coral reefs and prize fish (tipping staffers off that an invader was in their midst), but also bit through 20 pounds of fishing line and most likely ate and digested the bait—and hooks—on traps that were set out for an injured fish.

Aquarium officials think that Barry (a name they came up with) arrived in a delivery of coral, though they’re unsure of how long he’s been stalking the premises.

The worm was finally lured out with fish scraps and put in his own tank—though staffers hopefully didn’t get to close to him in the process: This tropical polychaete worm, armed with thousands of bristles covering his body, can permanently numb humans with its sting.

Our official take on the matter: Eww.


MORE ABOUT: aquariums, monsters, UK, worms
  • Jason

    It’s Shai’hulud of the Sea!

  • Uncle Al

    Are they certain it’s a boy? If not, “Barry” might give way to “Maggie” (Thatcher). No surrender, no retreat! That sting sounds like a miracle for people painfully dying of cancer. “Somewhere in Eden, now, a worm, a worm,” Rydra Wong.

  • http://deleted Rasselas

    I agree resoundingly with the idea to use this for TERMINALLY ill cancer patients. It might only be a local (though permanent) anegelisic, imply that others with chronic pain in local regions might benefit as well.

    For example, it is known that those with leg amputations or such get a symptom known as “Amputated Limb Pain” or such. It’s due partially to the brain rewiring itself, and the old brain region interpreting that as “ghost pain” or such. Anyways, wonder if a person who got a permanent local anagelesic would suffer the same fate? If not, then that means that there is a difference between losing a limb and losing sensation. Perhaps the local anagelisic could be applied to the stump of a lost limb to counteract ghost pain?

    On second thought, I just remembered that people with all limbs but paralysis exhibit ghost pain as well. So it follows that people once stung by the worm also experience ghost pain??? Bets are that chronic pain is still worse than intermittent ghost pain.

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  • http://yahoo s-man

    I never seen anything like it it was crazy! it layed an egg it one of the staffers leg and he said It lived in his leg for weeks he said he could feel it moving around sometimes ! yuck I feel sorry for him and he still has it in his leg

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, no, That never happened. If you’re going to make up stories, they might be more believable if you didn’t sound like Ralph Wiggum.

      • Ste Beresford

        Botfly larva, on the other hand…

  • squeemish

    4′ long? Oh the humanity… I hate my life right now!

  • Matt

    In reply to the person insisting this be used to treat cancer patients. Permanent numbness is rare and the localised only to about 3cm around the sting wound. The amount you would have to supply (intravenously may I add) to alleviate the pain of internal cancers, would kill the patient then and there.

    Matt Stone
    PhD Human biology

  • Freya Mears

    It could be used to help cancer patients, or anyone else who needs constant blood tests or injected treatments, like dialysis. Permanently numb the injection/blood draw site.


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