In the wake of the state’s recent storms, a strange phenomenon involving worms has occurred in Eisenhower State Park. As the flood water receded, and park rangers began surveying the grounds, they noticed clumps of what looked like old spaghetti in the middle of a park road.
Hmm, spaghetti? In a state park? Seems fishy.
The rangers took a closer look and discovered those odd, pinkish clumps were actually worms arranged in an almost perfect line in the very center of the road stripe. As reported by ABC News, rangers initially thought the noodle-like bundles were, in fact, somebody’s leftover noodles, until they “decided to poke the piles with a stick to ensure that there were only worms in the spaghetti-looking clumps.”
Worms commonly arrange themselves in these squirming clumps, which are technically called earthworm herds. It’s an awe-inspiring technique used by the tiny creatures in times of distress, like when faced with a predator or harsh conditions. They cling together, perhaps because worms, like human beings, know they are strongest when tightly grouped in a pack of slimy flesh.
But as for lining up in an almost artful arrangement, officials are dumbfounded. “We’re still puzzled why they decided to line up in the middle of the road,” Park superintendent Ben Herman told ABC. “Even our biologist doesn’t know why they’re spaced so well and in the line.”
Of course there are theories. Perhaps that middle stripe in the road was simply the only high and dry place for the worms to form their herd? Commenters on Eisenhower State Park’s Facebook page offered their own takes as well. Might it be earthworm mating season? Are they staging an elaborate worm sit-in to protest being used as bait? Is this some kind of mass communication technique, and should we expect an earthworm revolt in the coming days? All valid options considering how strange nature can be (see: earthworm herds).
What we know for sure is the earthworms have since abandoned their formation, probably to return back to the dirt from whence they came. An update to the original post tells followers of the strange phenomenon that the worms left only their manure behind, in the same odd formation. We also know that no other state parks in the state seem to have experienced the same worm oddity—park rangers at Eisenhower reportedly checked.
While the park rangers and biologists with Eisenhower State Park may never know what caused the worms to arrange in such an orderly fashion, there’s a lesson to be learned here: in times of great adversity, worms, and people, are more likely to survive and thrive not alone, in our own little pile of dirt, but in a slightly disgusting, tight-knit mass.
(Photo courtesy of Eisenhower State Park)