Category Archives: Worms

Beware the Conqueror Worm!

Wow.

Oh gross!

I had worms once. A  gastroenterologist doc thought maybe I had parasites and he gave me an anti-parasite medication. Well, what do you know? Next day I went to poop, and there were these wiggy white worms in the bowl. Hookworm apparently. And my chronic fatigue stuff  got dramatically better, though it reverted back to the same old same old in a couple of weeks.

I had an appointment with the doc a couple of weeks later and told him about the bowl worms and the fatigue getting a lot better and he shrugged his shoulders like it was nothing and said he thought I might have had them. I asked him if it wasn’t weird that I got them and he shrugged his shoulders again like it was nothing and he said lots of people get them. I asked him if it wasn’t hard to get them in the US, and he shrugged his shoulders like it was nothing again and said there’s lots of ways to get them.

Now compare a doctor who knows his stuff (a specialist) with who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground (a GP ).

I really should have reached into the damn bowl and saved those darned wigglies because a few arrogant asshole physicians (Is there any other kind?) have subsequently refused to believe that I pooped those worms and insisted that I must have hallucinated. They said the only way they would believe me is if I scooped them out and put them in a jar and showed them the damned jar! Damn doctors annoy me sometimes! I saw those damn worms! And my fatigue got dramatically better. One physician suggest I must have been some weird sexual freak for getting these worms – homosexuals can sometimes get them via means you can guess at. Well, I’m not gay and I’m not even very weird in bed, especially compared these kids nowadays.

I shit those worms, dammit! I don’t care if you don’t believe me!

And no, I have no idea how I got them.

These things were not that big,  maybe the size of the smaller type of earthworms you can sometimes dig out of the ground when you are going fishing somewhere. We used to dig out white earthworms at this lake we went fishing at that were about this size. The fish went nuts over them, apparently because these were the native worms they were used to chowing on. Yes, white earthworms exist. Now there’s something new for you to Google! Oh and don’t forget to Google tapeworm and hookworm while you are at it.

PS. My father was stationed in the Pacific theater in World War 2 and I believe he got some damned infectious worm in his intestine somehow or other on Okinawa. It made him sick as Hell too.

Beware the Conqueror Worm!

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Filed under Animals, Health, Illness, Invertebrates, Medicine, Worms

Groups Fight To Preserve Palouse Earthworm

It’s three feet long, it’s white, it smells like lilies, it spits when you pick it up, and it’s almost extinct.

What is it?

It’s the Giant Palouse Earthworm!

Five groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, the
Friends of the Clearwater, the Palouse Audubon Society, the Palouse Prairie Foundation and the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, all filed a petition with the US U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Giant Palouse Earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Here is an old listing petition for the Giant Palouse Earthworm. The new one is probably similar.

It’s only been seen on six occasions in the past 110 years. In 1897, it was described a “very abundant.” Multiple searches for it in the past two decades have come up blank, but it was recent found by a graduate student in 2005, so it’s apparently still around, though it is probably not abundant as it was in 1897. Considering all of the searches that have come up blank, it’s probably very rare instead.

99.99% of the Palouse Prairie, a region 2 million acres of rolling wheat fields in northeastern Washington State far northern Idaho has has been converted to (98%) or disturbed by agriculture. Many animals dependent on the prairie have experienced dramatic declines, and many plants are thought to have disappeared completely.

The sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanchus phasianellus), white-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus townsendii), ferrunginous hawk (Buteo regalis), and spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) populations are seriously threatened. Two butterflies are rare – Johnson’s hairstreak (Callophrys johnsoni) is a species of concern and Shepard’s Parnassian (Parnassius clodius shepardii) is listed as a candidate species for State of Washington Species of Concern. Of these, I will say that the Colombia spotted frog definitely needs to be listed as an endangered species.

Four plants, transparent milkvetch (Astragalus diaphanous), long-tubed evening primrose (Oenothera flava), liverwort monkey-flower (Mimulus jungermannioides) and kidney-leaved violet (Viola renifolia), have disappeared entirely.

Other plants are considered rare, threatened or endangered, including Jessica’s aster (Aster jessicae), yellow lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), Wanapum locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. wanapum), broadfruit mariposa (Calochortus nitidus), Palouse thistle (Cirsium brevifolium), Palouse goldenweed (Haplopappus liatriformis) and Thompson’s clover (Trifolium thompsonii).

Palouse goldenweed and Jessica’s aster probably need to be listed as threatened species by the USFWS.

It’s said to be three feet long, but that’s actually as big as it can grow to. Any individual worm you find may be quite a bit shorter.

An earlier petition was turned down in 2006 by Bush’s USFWS on the grounds that there was not enough information about the worm to warrant listing. In other words, the thing is so rare that there’s no way to tell if it’s endangered or not because hardly anyone ever finds one. In other words, if you can’t even count them, who knows how many there are? This is one of the binds that extremely rare or hard to find species fall into, and honestly, it’s just a trap used by FWS to deny listings.

FWS, in denying the listing, suggested that just because 98% of the land had been converted to ag did not mean that the worm was going extinct. The implication was that the worm could be living quite well in ag lands, but I’m not sure if that is true. It’s quite clear to me that this worm was very abundant in 1897 and now it’s hardly ever found. That means it’s endangered.

It does smell like lilies, and it is white. There are quite a few native earthworms in the US, but most of the worms that are used in bait are not native to the US.

We used to dig for worms as kids at Talbert Lake in Huntington Beach back in the 1970’s, and there was a native worm that lived there that was white-colored. That worm was really killer on the local fish; it worked better than the worms you bought, probably because it was native to the area and the fish were used to eating them.

The ground around that lake was pure peat former lakeshore and it was very easy to dig for worms, plus worms were very abundant in that extremely rich peat. I assume if you farmed that peat, you could grow some great crops; that soil was rich as Hell. In addition, that soil had a very strong and funky smell to it. Not so much that it smelled bad, more that it smelled like pure fertilizer.

This link is a great backgrounder on the worm.

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Filed under Agricutlure, Americas, Animals, Endangered Species, Environmentalism, Idaho, Law, Regional, USA, Washington, West, Worms