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Giant Earthworm

Common name for any earthworm of the genus Pheretima, of which there are about 1,000 species, together referred to as pheretimoid worms. It is found mostly in New Guinea and parts of Southeast Asia, and some species can grow to a size of over a meter long (fig.). Like most earthworms, they must keep their body surface wet to respire and hence only come out at night and during rainfall. They come in a variety of colours, from overall pink (fig.) to slate grey, yet the colouration is apparently not always uniform, as some have a white underbelly (fig.). See also TRAVEL PICTURES.