Officially called the spirobranchus giganteus, these Christmas tree worms are some of the most festive creatures on the planet. When they burrow into coral and spread their colorful crowns, they bear a striking resemblance to the bright and spectacular trees that so many families put up around this time of the year!

Their crowns are made up of radioles, which are hairlike appendages that stem from the spine. Aren’t they beautiful?

And they serve a practical purpose.

The appendages are used for respiration, and most importantly of all, for catching dinner.

That dinner typically consists of microscopic plants called phytoplankton.

They lead pretty sedentary lives.

In fact, once they burrow into the coral, they never leave.

This allows them to hide in the reef as soon as they sense a predator.

Practicality aside, they’re just pretty to look at!

They bring a little holiday cheer to the ocean floor.

Enjoy!

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If you want to see one in action, check out the video below:

For these creatures, the Christmas spirit really is a feeling that lasts for the entire year! If only we could figure out a way to do that ourselves…

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/christmas-tree-worms/

If there is one species that Earth’s oceans are abundant with, it’s jellyfish. Thanks to climate change and the general warming of the planet, our oceans are becoming a much more hospitable place for all sorts of jellyfish. However, there will always be those more mysterious and elusive sub-species.

Consider the stygiomedusa gigantea. It is a species of giant jellyfish that is among the rarest in the world. Over the past 110 years, there have only been 115 sightings. According to those who have studied it, stygiomedusa gigantea is one of the largest invertebrate predators in the world.

While its sightings have been rare, luckily a few of the recent ones have been by unmanned ROV vehicles, which allow us to get up close with these terrifying, majestic creatures.

Well, this is going to give me nightmares for a year.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/stygiomedusa-gigantea/

bigger fish to fry

http://twitter.com/#!/Matthops82/status/478549362260185088

In case you had any remaining doubt as to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ commitment to addressing the horrific mistreatment of our nation’s vets, this ought to clear things up:

http://twitter.com/#!/DeptVetAffairs/status/478523107440091136

Sorry … what?

http://twitter.com/#!/Cameron_Gray/status/478545742219333633

Because what’s mass human slaughter or sick heroes left to languish or die when there are fish on the line?

http://twitter.com/#!/Matthops82/status/478548280570175489
http://twitter.com/#!/Trent_Hill/status/478546920369971200
http://twitter.com/#!/AngelaKG/status/478552413868011520
http://twitter.com/#!/betzbella/status/478541255966605313
http://twitter.com/#!/Matthops82/status/478547319894204416

Or — dare we say it — bigger fish to fry?

http://twitter.com/#!/CuffyMeh/status/478553709455355904

***

Related:

‘You tweet this as Iraq disintegrates’?’ @StateDept is ‘focused like a laser beam on fish’

Iraq crisis? No worries, you guys. John Kerry will … squee! Leonardo DiCaprio!

Twitchy coverage of the VA scandal

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/06/16/this-is-outrageous-vets-are-left-dying-but-va-dept-has-much-bigger-fish-to-fry/