Deepest worms found in SA mines

2011-06-02 00:00

VERNON Crooks near Umzinto on the South Coast may boast the longest worms in SA, but researchers have now found the deepest worms — 1,3 km down — in a South African gold mine.

The researchers have named them Mephitso, after Faust’s Ruler of the Underworld, “who also does not like the light”. Like earthworms, the Mephitso worms are hermaphrodites. They favour the female sex, but can change at will to procreate.

The worms were found in a pool of water that is 12 000 years old, where they feed on bacteria.

The researchers say Mephitso worms are also the first multi-cell species ever found under the Earth’s surface.

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