The Smiley Wiley Worm: Euperipatoides rowelli


Even though Euperipatoides rowelli looks like a harmless worm it is actually a fierce predator. E. rowelli is a carnivore which feeds nocturnally. In order to kill its prey, E. rowelli will eject a white, glue like substance out of its oral papillae and onto its prey. This “white glue like substance” is mostly a highly unstructured collagen protein and water (Glime 2013). Since there is no structure it creates an adhesive, thread like, enmeshing substance which makes ensnaring prey easy (Haritos et al. 2013). After the prey is ensnared and cannot escape, E. rowelli will bite the prey with its mandibles and inject a digestive enzyme in its prey to soften the tissues. Once the prey is soft enough for E. rowelli to eat, it will suck up the soft insides through its mouth and acquire its nutrients. Although E. rowelli can also use its spray in defense, it does not always work to defend it against its much larger predators such as birds and rodents. Instead, it relies on a protective covering of moss to hide it from its predators. These include the Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi) and Hemprich's Coral Snake (Micrurus hemprichii) (Monge-Nájera 1993). E. rowelli is too small to have any effect on humans, but it can serve as a great pet albeit for a high price. Check United Kingdom online pet stores for more information.



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