Little information is available on the biology of the newly discovered Devil’s worm. However, this species demonstrates a high temperature tolerance (1) (2), higher than most terrestrial nematodes (4), and is thought to be able to survive in conditions of up to 41 degrees Celsius (1). Nematodes are known to be able to enter a state of suspended animation known as anabiosis (1), although as yet there are no records of this for the Devil’s worm.
The Devil’s worm feeds on accumulations of bacteria, known as ‘biofilms’, which are found on the water’s surface (1) (3) (4). This species reproduces asexually through parthenogenesis (1).
The unearthing of the Devil’s worm is a significant one, as prior to its discovery nematodes were not known to occur beyond depths of tens of metres (3). This new discovery is also viewed as having important implications for the potential of encountering subterranean life forms on other planets (2).