|Giant Gippsland earthworm|
The giant Gippsland earthworm (Megascolides australis) is one of Australia's 1,000 native earthworm species. These Giant earthworms average at 100 cm long and 2 cm in diameter and can reach 3 m in length. It is difficult to measure length, as the worms will stretch, so scientists use weight to estimate the size. The average weight of a fresh adult worm is about 200 grams. They have a dark purple head and a blue-gray body.
The worms are found in the Bass River Valley of South Gippsland, near Korumburra and Warragul. They are only found in a small area, of about 100,000 hectares. They live in small pockets of blue-grey clay close to water. They live in burrows about 500mm deep, and can burrow as deep as 1.5m.
The habitat the worms used to live in was tall eucalypt forests. Most of this has been cleared for farming, but the worms have continued to survive because they live deep underground. They have been listed a vulnerable species because of these changes. The worms only lay a single egg, between 4-7cm in size. These can take up to one year to hatch, and the worms take several years to become adults, and be able to reproduce. This slow rate of growth, also makes them a vulnerable species.
References[change | change source]
- Diversity of Soil Fauna and Ecosystem Function, Biology International. Retrieved on October 23, 2008.
- Museumvictoria.com.au, (2015). Giant Gippsland Earthworm: Museum Victoria . [online] Available at: http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/giant-gippsland-earthworm/ Archived 2013-12-14 at the Wayback Machine [Accessed 20 Aug. 2015].