Thursday, May 25, 2006

How big is the robin?

We here at Out There love our animal stories; this one not only intrigues but may induce nightmares.

From the Associated Press:

The recent discovery of a giant Palouse earthworm has energized entomologists and soil scientists, who fear it may be near extinction.

How giant is the giant Palouse? A yard long and as big around as a man's pinkie finger.

It's also albino-pale, can burrow 15 feet deep and smells like a lily. Hmmmmm.

“It was very exciting. Just to find something we thought, perhaps, was gone is a great thing,” University of Idaho soils scientist Jodi Johnson-Maynard said.

The native giant earthworms have been found by scientists only four times since the 1970s. None had been seen since the 1980s until Idaho graduate student Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon dug one up while studying other earthworm species a year ago.

Little is known about the giant worms, but we do know that unlike the giant sand worms of “Dune" or the man-eating underground dwellers of 1990s movie “Tremors,” the giant Palouse worms appear to eat only vegetation and an occasional insect.

Is it the biggest worm around? Nope. A worm in Australia can reach 10 feet. (What doesn't grow to gargantuan proportions in Australia?)

1 comment:

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