Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Der Steppenworm? Two new species differ from the elusive 'Mongolian Death Worm'

Date:
April 9, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the first proper earthworms from the Outer Mongolian steppes. Although the two new species don't have the deadly biology of the legendary olgoi-khorkhoi, 'Mongolian Death Worm', they still intrigue with the abilities of their cousins to regenerate body parts when cut in two and survive within astonishing temperature ranges.

This image shows Eisenia fetida or the 'Tiger worm', one of the close relatives of the newly described species.
Credit: Mihai Duguleana via Wikimedia Commons

The 'Mongolian Death Worm', called olgoi-khorkhoi by the local population is a legendary animal with an unconfirmed existence that has preoccupied the imagination of the inhabitants and travelers in the region. It is said to inhabit the southern Gobi Desert where it terrorizes travelers with its deadly abilities to project acid that, upon contact, turns anything it touches yellow and corroded.

Two new sub-species of earthworms, Eisenia nordenskioldi mongol and E. n. onon, are reported from the same region. Although neither of them possesses the fatal characteristics of olgoi-khorkhoi, the sibling species exhibit the ability to partly regrow body parts when cut in two. Relatives of the sub-species are found in habitats as diverse as high mountains, deserts and geothermal hot-springs. They demonstrate extreme temperature tolerances and survival ranges thriving in environments from as little as -30°C up to +40°C.

E. nordenskioldi mongol has its name derived from the region of discovery. The name E. n. onon bears more romantic connotations, being inspired by the Onon River in Outer Mongolia, where Genghis Khan was born and grew up. The region is also supposed to be the resting place of this historical figure that inspires stories of great conquests, victories and brutality.

Earthworms as a group organisms have other more tangible, importance from an ecological point of view. Charles Darwin, for example, spent 50 years of his working life studying these humble worms. They are key organisms for monitoring and maintaining soil fertility. Earthworms are also the basis of food-chains as the Early-bird and any fishermen knows.

Whether olgoi-khorkhoi really exists, and whether the two new sub-species of the Siberian E. nordenskioldi species-complex are in any way related to it, is yet to be


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Blakemore. Earthworms newly from Mongolia (Oligochaeta, Lumbricidae, Eisenia). ZooKeys, 2013; 285 (0): 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.285.4502

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Der Steppenworm? Two new species differ from the elusive 'Mongolian Death Worm'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409111557.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, April 9). Der Steppenworm? Two new species differ from the elusive 'Mongolian Death Worm'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409111557.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Der Steppenworm? Two new species differ from the elusive 'Mongolian Death Worm'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409111557.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) — Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins