Ice Worms on Mt Rainier

The glacial slopes of Mount Rainier in Washington State, USA might seem lifeless at first glance. That is, until the ice worms emerge.

As if on cue, billions of black, threadlike worms wriggle their way to the surface of the snow every summer, when the sun directly strikes the glaciers. And scientists still don’t know why.

If they want the answer to that question or any other related to this mysterious creature, scientists have to act fast. Black ice worms (Mesenchytraeus solifugus) are the only worm species known to science that spend their entire lives in ice. As glaciers in the region shrink due to global warming, these worms risk becoming extinct alongside them.

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