Sunday, February 12, 2006

Insanely Long Rare Earthworm Smells Like Lilies

Brian

Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon, an Idaho graduate student working at a Washington ecological preserve, is the first person in nearly twenty years to lay eyes on a giant Palouse earthworm:
Earthworm experts who gathered for a workshop in Sanchez-de Leon's native Puerto Rico in November confirmed Sanchez-de Leon's identification, as did Northwest earthworm expert William M. Fender-Westwind of Portland, Ore.

"By earthworm standards, they're pretty cool," said James Johnson, the head of the university's Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department.

Link. "Earthworm standards" are, of course, a very precise scale of coolness at the low end of the spectrum, useless for quantifying Corvettes or Jimi Hendrix. Still, the coolness is only enhanced by the odor of freshly cut flowers:
While [Sanchez-de Leon] did not detect much lily fragrance from this specimen, she said prior reports made note of the pleasant smell, which hasn't yet been explained.

The worm's scientific name, Driloleirus americanus, means "lily-like worm."

Link (via Fark). This may explain the strange allure of Tremors.

Indexed by tags nature, earthworm, worm, giant, Washington, Palouse, lilies, Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon.
Image credits: "Giant Palouse Earthworm," Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon / University of Idaho, courtesy Discovery Channel, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.

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