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Researchers discover bizarre new species of'phallic' clam that feeds on wood at the bottom of the ocean

研究人員在海底發現了一種以木頭為食的“陽具”蛤

When this type ofphallic-looking clam is around, discarded timber turns into a tasty treat.

當這種看起來像JJ的蛤蜊出現的時候,廢棄的木材就變成了美味的食物。

Researchers recentlydiscovered one new species and several new genus groups of wood-boring clams,which feast on wood debris in the ocean.

研究人員最近發現了一種新種類和幾個新屬的蛀木蛤,它們以海洋中的木屑為食。

The discovery of the newspecimens expands the number of wood-boring clams known to humans to twice thesize previously thought.

新樣本的發現,將人類已知的蛀木蛤的數量擴大了一倍。



'There's not just onetree-cleaner-upper in the ocean, they're really diverse,' says Janet Voight,Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Field Museum and the study'slead author.

菲爾德博物館無脊椎動物動物學副館長、該研究的第一作者珍妮特•沃伊特表示:“海洋中不止有一種高級的蛀木生物,它們真的很多樣化。”



In addition to being somewhatcomical in shape — a phallic tube-like organ called a 'siphon' protrudes fromtheir shell — researchers note that the type of clam may also have a profoundecological impact.

除了在形狀上有點滑稽之外——一種叫做“虹吸管”的陰莖狀管狀器官從它們的殼中伸出來——研究人員注意到這種蛤的類型也可能有深遠的生態影響。



The clams, which bore intowood and use their bodies to scrape off sawdust and eat it, are among the onlyspecies on Earth known to eat wood and because of their unique diet, scientistssay that the class of clams could be instrumental in regulating the amount ofwood in the ocean.

這種蛤——通過鉆入木頭內部、使用他們的身體刮掉木屑并吃掉這些木屑——是地球上已知的極少數吃木頭的物種之一。因為他們獨特的飲食,科學家們表示,這類蛤可以幫助調節海洋中木材的數量。

'We have no idea how much woodis at the bottom of the ocean, but there's probably a lot more than we think,'said Voight in a statement.

沃伊特在一份聲明中說,我們不知道海底有多少木材,但可能比我們想象的要多得多。

'After big storms, we estimatethat millions of tons of wood are washed out to sea. What if these clamsweren't there to help eat it? Think how long it would take the wood to rot...'

“大風暴過后,我們估計有數百萬噸木材被沖到了海里。如果沒有這些蛤幫忙吃呢?想想這些木頭要多久才會腐爛……”

According to researchers,while the clams are tiny — some of their shells are about the size of a peaeven for adults — they often settle in large numbers allowing them to quicklytake care of wood debris.

據研究人員稱,盡管這類蛤很小——對成年人來說,它們的大小也只有豌豆那么大——但它們經常會大量定居下來,讓它們能夠迅速處理掉木頭碎屑。



Voight says that since theclams are efficient and almost alone in eating wood that finds its way into theocean they also play a crucial role in cycling carbon -- turning trees in theocean into waste that other animals in the ocean can get energy from.

沃伊特說,由于這種蛤極為高效,而且幾乎是單獨吃進海洋的木頭,所以它們在循環碳方面也發揮著關鍵作用——把海洋中的樹木變成廢物,海洋中的其他動物則可以從中獲得能量。

'It blows me away,' she saidin a statement.

她在一份聲明中表示,“這讓我震驚。”