The Thing

Giant Invertebrate of the Caribbean Sea.

Physical description: Wormlike. Segmented. Length, 7-15 feet. Diameter, 1.5-2 inches. Color, maroon or copper, with fluorescent, multicolored speckles. Bulbous head, described as walruslike. Feathered gills. Hundreds of leglike protuberances or setae along the sides.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Extremely sensitive to light. Tends to break apart when handled. Eaten by moray eels.

Habitat: Coral reef.

Distribution: Anse Chastanet dive resort, Soufrière, St. Lucia.

Significant sighting: Felix Voirol saw the Thing during a night dive in the summer of 1993. It was as big as a medium-sized moray eel, copper-colored, and segmented. It instantly disappeared into a crevice.

Present status: Photographs exist of the animal, but they have not been published. Possible explanations:

(1) A hoax on the part of the dive resort is unlikely, since it would be difficult to set up and maintain.

(2) A giant, segmented, unknown species of polychaete worm, suggested by Michael Allard and Susan Marsden. Rock worms (Family Eunicidae) are omnivorous polychaetes that live in coral reefs. Some species grow to more than 6 feet long.

(3) Outsize individual worms of known eunicid species.

Sources: Ben S. Roesch, "'The Thing': A Cryptic Polychaete of St. Lucia," Cryptozoology Review 1, no. 1 (Summer 1996): 12-19; Mary E. Petersen, "'The Thing': A Specialist's View," Cryptozoology Review 1, no. 2 (Autumn 1996): 5-6.

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