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Tubifex is found in poluted (river)water, rich with nutrients often next to sewage outlets. Part of the body is digged into the substrate (sand, mud or slib) This is protection (they retract fast into the substrate when disturbed) and its holding them on the same (nutricious) spot.
The colony has to stay wet otherwise they will die very soon.
A slime and bacteria layer will form around the colony
Originally posted by GioTheGreek
Tubifex worms in wild
A sample of the giant black mystery blob that Wainwright hunters discovered this month floating in the Chukchi Sea has been identified.
It looks to be a stringy batch of algae. Not bunker oil seeping from an aging, sunken ship. Not a sea monster.
"We got the results back from the lab today," said Ed Meggert of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Fairbanks. "It was marine algae."
Miles of the thick, dark gunk had been spotted floating between Barrow and Wainwright, prompting North Slope Borough officials and the Coast Guard to investigate last week. A sample was sent to a DEC lab in Anchorage, where workers looked at it under a microscope and declared it some kind of simple plant -- an algae, Meggert said.
The goo fast became an Alaska mystery. And the new findings still leave questions unanswered: Why is there so much of it in a region where people say they've never seen anything quite like it?
Local hunters and whalers didn't know what to make of it. The Coast Guard labeled the substance biological, but knew little else. The stuff had hairy strands in it and was tangled with jellyfish, said a borough official.
All specimens of the two species in which cyst formation was observed had been collected after drying conditions ranging from 14 to 28 days.
... The development of protective cysts by Dero multibranchiata and Trieminentia corderoi, and perhaps many other species of aquatic oligochaetes, appears to be an adaptive strategy enabling them to survive drought in temporary wetlands, recolonize freshwater habitats upon inundation, and disperse both laterally and downstream with rising water levels in wetlands and streams.