Creepy New Worm Species Named After GODZILLA’s King Ghidorah

When you’re a nerd in science, you have to take the opportunities you see to work in your fannish love. And that’s exactly what a group of biologists did when they discovered a new species of worm. This recently discovered branching worm was named Ramisyllis kingghidorahi. Kaiju lovers among us will recognize the reference to Godzilla’s famous foe. All hail the mighty King Ghidorah worm.

A new species of branching worm was named after Godzilla's King Ghidorah
M T Aguado/Legendary

King Ghidorah made a recent cinematic appearance in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The titan, of course, has three heads, two tails, and a dragon-like form. While this new species of branching worm has only one head, its body can split into different branches. Thus, evoking the legendary King Ghidorah.

In a release, the study’s co-author Professor M. Teresa Aguado further shares:

King Ghidorah is a branching fictitious animal that can regenerate its lost ends, so we thought this was an appropriate name for the new species of branching worm.

We could not agree more.

New species of branching worm named after Godzilla's King Ghidorah
M T Aguado

The name makes further sense because the new worm lives on the island of Sado in Japan. And, as the release notes, Godzilla and his arch-enemy King Ghidorah are “both characters based on Japanese mythology and folklore.”

Scientists had only discovered two species of branching worms before this new King Ghidorah worm variant. The worms are marine creatures that have only one head but a body that seems to branch continuously. Aguado goes on to note, “We were astonished to find another of these bizarre creatures with only one head and a body formed from multiple branching. The first worm was thought to be unique. This discovery reveals a higher diversity of these tree-like animals than anyone expected.

Close up of new branching worm species named after Godzilla's King Ghidorah
M T Aguado

As if they didn’t look creepy enough, the branching worms “live inside the internal canals of sea sponges.” According to the release, no one knows the exact nature of the relationship between the branching worms and the host sponges. Could they share a symbiotic relationship? Or a parasitic one? And the biggest question on the minds of the researchers is “how do the worms manage to feed to maintain their huge bodies having just one tiny mouth in their single head?”

That’s a good question. Could it have something to do with their true identities as monstrous space aliens? Or perhaps they thrive because they happen to have elemental magic? Maybe we’ll find out in the new  Godzilla live-action series coming to Apple TV+. This creature looks like it could fit right into the fray. For now, you can enjoy the full study detailing this King Ghidorah branching worm.

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

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