Serve Me Up Some Fried Eggs Worm!

photo: Samuel W. James

Habitat: Philippines
Status: Not Evaluated

Everyone knows the old saying “The early bird catches the worm…” but what happens when the worm looks like it’s the one that’s got the delicious breakfast?! That really throws a wrench in the mix, now don’t it?

This bizarre denizen of the Earth is called the Fried Eggs Worm (Archipheretima middletoni) and it was only discovered back in 2001 on a few islands of the Philippines. Unlike most species of earthworms, this one doesn’t actually live underground. Instead, it slinks about in the leaf litter on the forest floor. All species of this genus are blue, varying from aquamarine to shades of indigo to dark blue with spots that resemble fried eggs.

The remarkable pattern may serve the worm by providing cryptic and/or disruptive coloration. Some researchers have ventured that the ‘fried eggs’ are there to resemble small patches of light reflecting off dead leaves or they may just be there in order to break up the outline of the animal. Whatever purpose they serve, it’s definitely one of the coolest patterns on a WORM I’ve ever seen!