The ice worm is among the most abundant organisms to spend its complete life in ice, and Washington State University scientist Scott Hotaling is one of the only folks on the planet studying it.
He’s the author of a brand new paper exhibiting that ice worms within the interior of British Columbia have evolved into what could also be a genetically distinct species from Alaskan ice worms.
Hotaling and colleagues also recognized an ice worm on Vancouver Island that’s intently related to separate population of ice worms located 1,200 miles (1931.2 Km) away in southern Alaska.
The researchers believe the genetic intermingling is the results of birds consuming the glacier-bound worms at one location after which dropping them at another location as they migrate.
“If you are a worm located on a mountain glacier, the expectation is you aren’t going wherever,” stated Hotaling. “However, lo and behold, we found this one ice worm on Vancouver Island that’s closely associated with ice worms in Alaska. The reasonable explanation we can think of is birds.”
Thousands, maybe lots of hundreds of thousands, of ice worms will be seen wriggling on the top of glaciers from the Mountains named Chugach in southern Alaska to the Cascade Volcanoes of Washington and Oregon throughout the summer months. Within the winter, ice worms subsist under the floor of glaciers where temperatures remain at or below freezing.