This worm is known informally as the “fried egg worm.” From the color scheme alone, you can tell it doesn’t want to be a worm, and its behavior proves it.

Scientists only cataloged Archipheretima middletoni fairly recently—although the people of the Philippines have known about it for a while, and thought it was the larva-stage for the spotted eels that lived in rivers near the worm’s territory.

It’s no surprise that locals spotted this worm. It’s hard to miss if you’re living in its territory. Not only does it have the color-scheme of an egged convertible, it doesn’t really know how to worm. Unlike most worms, it doesn’t venture underground. Ever. Instead it happily travels above ground eating leaf litter until it is time to reproduce.

We don’t know too much about its reproduction cycle, but we do know that it decides that its babies belong in the sky, not the ground. Researchers looking for the “fried egg” worm’s young can find them by searching the debris that accumulates in the crook of the leaves of the local pandanus tree. What they can’t find is more than one worm per tree. So not only does this worm store its babies in trees, it somehow makes sure that each baby gets a whole tree to itself. Because if you’re going to raise an indigo, white, and yellow diva of a worm, you need to give it plenty of room to stretch out.

Advertisement

Image: Revision of the Earthworm Genus Archipheretima Second Image: Ziegler175