The Old Tree: What is that strange ‘monster’? Let’s examine this incredibly mysterious creature hidden in a water-filled wooden box.
When people saw this painting, I’m sure everyone was confused. I think 10 people looked at it, and 11 people had to ask their moms, “What is this?”
A long time ago, someone cut down a tree that had been soaking in a swamp for many years. When looking closely at the surface of the tree, they discovered something strange. What kind of scary creature is that?
Many people would be very curious to know what kind of unusual creature lives in this tree that makes it look so ugly when it’s cut down.
The answer is the wood chisel, scientifically known as Teredo Navalis.
Wood chisels carve wood. Ceredo pavalis are strange creatures that carve wood and travel the world.
They started in the Northeast Atlantic but have moved to many places around the globe. Some people thought they were hidden on ships and traveled for centuries.
The reason they have been to so many places is that they can live in different types of water. They can live in warm tropical waters, the cold North Sea, or the mixed waters of the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.
Teredo worms are very flexible and can adapt to different environments easily. Even though they look like worms, these creatures actually belong to a group of mollusks called bivalves, specifically the Teredo Navalis species. Most Teredo Navalis worms are small, measuring about 2cm in length and are milky white. However, there are some individuals that can grow up to 60cm long and have a body diameter of 1cm or even bigger.
Some people have light brown lines on their bodies that can be easily unnoticed in the environment.
The tip of the wood chisel has two curved bumps covered with hard lime. The most unique thing about a Teredo is its head – almost round with two curved bumps covered with hard lime. It has a rough surface for cutting wood, and between the two curved bumps, there is a round and flattened mouth.
There are two tubes at the end that go in and out. One tube expands while the other tube contracts. The expanding tube takes in water and organisms, while the contracting tube releases waste. These two tubes are called siphons. Outside of the siphons, there are two layers of lime.
Teredo worms are troublesome creatures that burrow into wood from a young age, leaving small holes. Through these holes, they connect life in the forest with the outside environment using their two cylinders.
During the growth and development of moths, they always produce a type of liquid that softens wood. This liquid, which contains calcium, hardens around the moist areas of hawthorn caves and turns white after drying. This layer of lime protects the moths from the harmful effects of seawater.
When the head bites into the wood, it takes longer for the rest of the body to reach that spot. Interestingly, the longer the head stays on the wood, the longer it takes for the rest of the body to catch up. Each moth creates a separate hole in the wood with its own chisel, but in this case, the chisel didn’t penetrate the other wood. Consequently, the barnacles ran out of food and died when the wood was no longer usable.
Wood-boring moths are known to be hermaphrodites, going through male and female phases separately. Males release their sperm into the sea, and females swim to areas with sperm and absorb them into their bodies.