A fantastic positive and negative specimen collected in Utah. A rare member of the Priapulids, a type of uniformly shaped, non-segmented worm.
Priapulida (priapulid worms or penis worms) is a phylum of marine worms. The name of the phylum relates to the Greek god of fertility, because their general shape and their extensible spiny introvert (eversible proboscis) may recall the shape of a phallic. They live in the mud (which they eat) and in comparatively shallow waters up to 300 ft. deep. Some species show a remarkable tolerance for hydrogen sulfide and anoxia. They are cylindrical worm-like animals with a median anterior mouth quite devoid of any armature or tentacles. The body is divided into a main trunk or abdomen and a somewhat swollen proboscis region ornamented with longitudinal ridges. The body is ringed and often has circles of spines, which are continued into the slightly protrusible pharynx. Some species may also have a tail or a pair of caudal appendages. The body has a chitinous cuticle that is moulted as the animal grows.