A marine creature, dubbed Peanut Worm, recently discovered by a team of researchers from Museums Victoria and the CSIRO in Australia has become an internet sensation, thanks to its bizarre shape that resembles a human organ.

Peanut worm takes the shape of a peanut when threatened

According to scientists, peanut worm—found in an abyss off Australia's east coast—takes the shape of a peanut when threatened, by retracting its mushroom cap head within its body shaft. At others times, however, it looks like a human phallus. Researchers from Museums Victoria found this creature during their month-long expedition to the sea floor.

Scientists reveal peanut worms (sipunculids) are a group of unsegmented, bilaterally symmetrical worms that dwell in shallow waters. They can reproduce both asexually and sexually. There are over 300 different species of peanut worms in the world.

Underwater organisms discovered by researchers from Museums Victoria

The team from Museums Victoria returned from their expedition after collecting interesting information about a variety of underwater organisms, including a sea pig, a flesh-eating crustacean, a red coffin fish, a shortarse feelerfish, giant sea spiders, a blobfish, bioluminescent sea stars, a zombie worm and a number of other bizarre creatures. In this expedition, the team explored a part of the eastern abyss, about 4,000 meters below sea level in search of mysterious marine creatures.

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The team had recently released a picture of a weird faceless fish that was also found in the abyss. This faceless fish was first discovered in 1873 but was never seen again until now.

According to Dr. Tim O’Hara, the expedition’s Chief Scientist, there was very little information available, until now, about the life on the abyssal plain, and the team members are very excited about the discoveries they have made in the deep sea. Museums Victoria’s expedition team returned with specimens of several sea creatures, about one-third of which are new to scientists. These sea creatures will now be sent to different labs all around Australia for further investigation. There are also plans to exhibit some creatures in the Melbourne Museum in coming months.

On this trip, researchers also tried to estimate the impact of human activity on the sea and found alarming levels of rubbish, including beer cans, PVC pipes, bottles, cans of paint, woodchips, etc., on the seafloor about 100 km off Australia's coast. Scientists hope their latest findings will help raise peoples’ interest in marine creatures and will inspire them to protect deep sea environments.