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Biggest worm threat
June 13, 2007 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Australia is home to the biggest worm in the world, the Giant Gippsland Earthworm - Megascolides australis. The next biggest is the Giant Palouse Earthworm - Driloleirus americanus from Oregon. Both [Gippsland, Palouse] are only classed as vulnerable in the threatened category of the IUCN Red List, simply because they are hard to count. This is despite the extreme measures taken to save some and to try and just find a live specimen of others.
posted by tellurian (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can grow to 13 feet (4m) [Stretched]

Psh, that's nothing! Stretch me and I can top that.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:09 PM on June 13, 2007


Which of these worms is eating through my brain?
posted by davy at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2007


Wow, so Noah went all the way to the southern tip of Australia, then all the way to the west coast of America to collect a male and female to stock the arc?
posted by mattoxic at 7:13 PM on June 13, 2007


"Sometimes, when you are close, you can hear them digging through the ground. It sounds a bit like a toilet flushing."

Very, very cool. Thanks for posting this!
posted by Liosliath at 7:15 PM on June 13, 2007


Thanks tellurian! Very interesting stuff, though I have to admit this was my favorite part of the Sierra Club article:

I’d first met Fender a few weeks before, at a coffee shop, where he was waiting for me in the corner. On his table, he’d propped up a little sign to identify himself. Rendered in ballpoint pen on a wrinkled paper bag, the sign said, "WORM."
posted by oneirodynia at 7:19 PM on June 13, 2007


Yet another FPP to file away under the category, "Links I Will Not Click In A Jillion Years."
posted by evilcolonel at 7:20 PM on June 13, 2007


Do either of these large worms have big sharp teeth?
posted by davy at 7:22 PM on June 13, 2007


The article on Fender was fascinating. Thanks. If I turn up any giant worms in my garden, I'll definitely know who to send a type-written plea to.
posted by maxwelton at 7:24 PM on June 13, 2007


The presence of Giant Gippsland Earthworms can be heard if you stamp the ground above their burrows. Startled by the overhead disturbance, they will slide rapidly through the series of tunnels and create a very distinct gurgling. This noise is caused by the Giant Gippsland Earthworm's slipping through a special fluid secretion that they produce to lubricate their burrows.


This is the best bit.

so, tellurian, Australia is the world's largest in something, (other than Uluru, of course)
posted by dhruva at 7:25 PM on June 13, 2007


That ought to catch a pretty big fish.
posted by caddis at 7:31 PM on June 13, 2007


so, tellurian, Australia is the world's largest in something
posted by dhruva

Heehe! Fair cop, guv. You've got me dead to rights.
posted by tellurian at 7:37 PM on June 13, 2007


/creakily shifts in weathered front-porch rocking chair as the evening mist drips quietly off the mossy cedar eaves of the cabin.

*poit*

/wipes mouth after spittin'

I 'member when tkchrist and me went on a Willamette Valley skookum hunt, back round about the nineteen and nineties, yep.

Waal, I recall parts of it, that is. There was giant worms a-crawlin' all over the station wagon, I thinks, and in my minds ear I hear a faint choruus of song, like a thousand tiny wind-up ewoks, yipping and chanting in horrific, savage unison.

Of course, there were a great deal of drugs around back then and I cain't hardly be held responsible for my memories no more.

*poit*

/sits back in chair, falls asleep
posted by mwhybark at 7:49 PM on June 13, 2007


Australia has the largest kangaroos, emus, wombats, platypus, echidnas, and surprisingly net use per head of population.
posted by mattoxic at 7:49 PM on June 13, 2007


Yet another FPP to file away under the category, "Links I Will Not Click In A Jillion Years."

The visuals are actually pretty underwhelming, evil colonel. The worms just look like slightly thicker, very long versions of your garden variety earthworms.

I remember a post about rat-like creatures the size of sheepdogs. Now that was something I was sorry to have seen.
posted by orange swan at 8:01 PM on June 13, 2007


my first thought on seeing that thing was definitely this.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:09 PM on June 13, 2007


Mongolian Death Worm
posted by homunculus at 9:15 PM on June 13, 2007


I lived in South Gippsland for a decade and I somehow managed to never visit the Giant Earthworm Museum. Shame on me!
posted by andraste at 9:41 PM on June 13, 2007


Which of these worms is eating through my brain? --Davy

BRRRRAAAAINS!!! Mmm.
posted by Bugg at 9:47 PM on June 13, 2007


Yeah, you probably don't want to click that.
posted by Bugg at 9:47 PM on June 13, 2007


dhruva: We've got plenty of big things!
posted by zamboni at 9:57 PM on June 13, 2007


Wormsign!
posted by isopraxis at 10:19 PM on June 13, 2007


is there a more fearsome worm anywhere than the one that causes dracunculiasis?
posted by bruce at 11:37 PM on June 13, 2007


Thanks for the post/damn you for beating me to the punch. I'm just about through with Bryson's In a Sunburned Country and (sadly) the first thing I thought of when I read about the giant worms was "What a cool Mefi post that would be."
posted by qldaddy at 7:00 AM on June 14, 2007


THE SPICE MUST FLOW.
posted by trondant at 8:11 AM on June 14, 2007


More tadpole than worm but… Crassigyrinus was long-bodied, with a large, blunt-nosed head equipped with huge eyes and a ferocious array of teeth.
[adversaria]
posted by tellurian at 5:34 PM on July 10, 2007


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