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  Weird sea worms at risk from global warming
Updated 15 July 2003, 21.33
A marine isopod, or woodlouse
Weird worms in Antarctica could be wiped out if temperatures continue to rise, scientists believe.

The ribbon worms, each around a metre long, are one of a number of species living in the extremely cold waters of Antarctica.

It's too cold there for some of the predators that live in other parts of the sea, which means some unique creatures have evolved there.

Ribbon worms have evolved in Antarctica
Ribbon worms have evolved in Antarctica
But as the weather gets warmer so does the water, and then some of the predators might be able to live there, threatening animals like the ribbon worms.

The warning comes from a US scientist called Professor Rich Aronson, who explained that when the seas in Antarctica got really cold 35 million years ago, all the predators vanished.

Aronson also said that even a very small rise in sea temperature of just few degrees could be enough to make big changes to the animals that live there.

Images courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey.

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