Is this real? If you have the stomach, click on the image to head to an image gallery and our very ordinary investigation.
So, are these photos real? And the answer, amazingly is… probably yes.
Here in Brazil we have our very own Minhocuçu (Rhinodrilus e Glossoscolex spp) which can easily grow beyond half a meter in length an almost an inch in diameter.
And it’s not by far the longest earthworm recorded.
The Microchaetidae family in South Africa is a group where all species can reach over a meter in length. This is no folk tale or cryptozoological rumor: specimens of this size have been duly recorded for over a century already.
And even those are not the champions. The title goes to the Megascolecidae family from Australia. The record: 2,1 meters by 24 millimeters thick.
The worms in the images all look they are up to a meter in length, compatible with the recorded dimensions for the many species of the families we discussed. They are probably real, though exactly from where and what species my ordinary investigation didn’t come up with. Specialists, do enlighten us with further confirmation and identification! The first image of a girl holding up one, for instance, may not be of an earthworm but of is a caecilian.
Giant earthworms are harmless, but perhaps because of their plain appearance and our instinctive disgust of them all kinds of legends are associated with them, even in places where we can’t find those “little” couple-meter-earthworms.
The most curious legend is not exactly about an earthworm, but of a worm. A death worm. The Mongolian Death Worm. It can allegedly kill its victims by either spraying a lethal and blinding venom, or sending electrical discharges.
In Brazil, where we do have our Minhocuçus, there’s also the legend of Minhocão, 25 meters in size. Like the Mongolian Death Worm, its not very plausible such a creature exists.
Earthworms over a couple of meters in length are real and they can more than make up for a mix of disgust and fascination. Not only they can harm nobody and are actually important part of the ecosystem, in Brazil they are in danger as they make really excellent fishing bait. This is no joke (link in Portuguese).
UPDATE: Identified! Well, at least the where and who for the second photo. It’s from Lisa B, available on her flickr account. As Lisa wrote in the comments below, “that image was taken in the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador, and it is indeed a real worm.” Thank you! Apologies for not including credit beforehand, I reproduced the original gallery from erueru, linked below, and I’m happy to include the sources.
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