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Filme B

Mysterious giant earthworms and destructive rats could cost the Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines their claim to the title of 'eighth wonder of the world'. Together, the pests are destroying crops and eroding the step-like rice fields.


The terraces, on the Philippines's largest island of Luzon, were carved out of the Cordillera mountains 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao ancestors. Once they began to grow rice there, a new society and culture emerged more than 1,300 metres above sea level. The Ifugao noticed the earthworms' 'silent invasion' in the early 1970s, but only reported it to local officials in the mid-1980s. The local people believe the worm's appearance in Banaue is linked to illegal logging near the terraces disturbing the soil. They initially tried to solve the problem with traditional means of pest control but the dark, 20-30 centimetre long worms persisted.


Joshi now suspects that the giant worm is related to Polypheretima elongata, an Asian species that has invaded rice fields around the world. Earthworms usually have both male and female reproductive parts but the Banaue species seems to produce no sperm. It is a 'female' worm that can multiply without mating with a male, says Joshi.
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu ftaghn!

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