This is Dave, an earthworm who now resides in the collection at the Natural History Museum in London. At nearly 16 inches (40 centimeters) long, Dave is the largest earthworm ever recorded in the UK. A gardener discovered Dave lounging in a vegetable garden in the county of Cheshire.
Dave is more technically known as Lumbricus terrestris, a lob worm. He weighs in at close to an ounce (26 grams), which beat out the previous half-ounce (15-gram) record holder.
Emma Sherlock is the museum's senior curator of free-living worms, which sounds like the best job title ever bestowed. "I was bowled over by the size of this worm when I opened the plastic box they sent it in," she says. "Not only is it really long, it is almost twice as heavy as any other wild earthworm ever seen, weighing the same as a small chocolate bar."
Ultimately, Dave was too beautiful and scientifically interesting for this mortal coil. This is sad for Dave, but a positive move for scientists and other worms. "This earthworm will have a legacy that lasts beyond all of our lifetimes, helping scientists today and tomorrow to understand and protect this species and its environment," Sherlock says.
Dave might be a heavyweight of his kind, but he's small in comparison with anecdotal accounts of the elusive giant Palouse earthworm, which has been hunted by scientists in the US.