The bootlace worm
) is in the phylum Nemertea
or ribbon worms. It is one of the longest
animals known, with specimens up to 30 m
being reported and some speculation that they may grow as long as
60m, which would make it the longest
in the world. They are however usually only 5 to 10 mm
in width. The body is brown with lighter (longitudinal) stripes.
It is the
most common nemertean found along the coasts
handled it produces large amounts of thick mucus with a faint
pungent smell. A specimen washed ashore in the aftermath of
a severe storm by St
Andrews, Scotland in 1864, had
a length of more than 55 metres.
Records of extreme length
should be taken with caution, however, because the body of
nemerteans is flexible and easily stretches to more than its usual
can be found on sandy shores, muddy
shores, and in tide pools.
Like other nemerteans, Lineus longissimus
feeds using its
. As it is in the class
Anopla, their proboscis is not armed with a barbed stylet. Instead
they have a cluster of sticky filaments at the end of their
proboscis that they use to immobilize prey.
- Carwardine, M. 1995. The Guinness Book
of Animal Records. Guinness Publishing. p. 232.