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Cornwall worm is star attraction
Attractions of all types are proving a hit with visitors to Cornwall over the Easter holidays but one has wormed his way to number one in the charts as a star.
Barry, the giant sea worm which was responsible for virtually destroying a living reef display at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium was already internationally known, but seeing it for real has brought the visitors out in force.
The four-foot-long reef worm was identified as the mysterious culprit who had been eating through a fragile living coral and news of his exploits quickly spread around the world with stories appearing as far afield as America, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Spain and Switzerland.
His story even featured in the Washington Post, on Canada's Discovery Channel and in scientific blogs worldwide.
Such has been the response that fans have now set up no fewer than four separate Facebook sites and he has even inspired an American rabbi to write a poem about him.
Blue Reef manager David Waines said: “To be honest I am a little dumbfounded by the response we've had from around the world.
“One PHD student in Australia is actually planning a visit to the UK next year just to meet him and we have been inundated with enquiries and requests for interviews.
“Initially we were planning to keep Barry off display because, frankly, we felt he was just too disgusting. However due to public demand we have now set him up his very own - coral free - display where he appears to be thriving.”
Barry is being fed on an algal based gel combined with the odd bit of whiting and, as far as anyone can tell, he appears to be perfectly happy.
In addition to having two sets of powerful jaws, Barry is covered with thousands of bristles which are capable of inflicting a sting resulting in permanent numbness.
It is thought Barry arrived in Cornwall as a juvenile in a shipment of living rock from another aquarium and has now turned out to be a star.
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