The Venomous Cocktail in a Fisherman’s Bait

Anglers often use bloodworms as bait, and aquarists use them as fish food. These small squirming creatures are named for their red bodily fluids which are visible through their translucent skin. They seem innocuous enough—at least, until they extrude their huge, terrifying proboscis, tipped with four, black fangs. Each one is lined with copper minerals, and connected to a venom gland. They are, in fact, venomous fish bait.

A bloodworm’s bite feels a bit like a bee or wasp sting. The venom can stop the heart of the small crustaceans that these creatures eat, but it’s not strong enough to harm a ...

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