Dave the record-breaking earthworm uncovered in Cheshire

Farmer unearths giant earthworm measuring 15.7ins - three times longer than the average

Natural History Museum scientist Emma Sherlock with Dave the earthworm 
(Image credit: Harry Taylor/NHM London)

An earthworm discovered by a farmer in Cheshire has broken the record for being the longest ever of its species.

Nicknamed Dave, it measured 15.7ins and weighed one ounce, making it three times longer and more than five times heavier than an average worm.

According to the Daily Telegraph, gardener Paul Rees, from Widnes, spotted the "monster Lumbricus terrestris when it surfaced in his vegetable patch". His stepson, George, christened it Dave.

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Experts at the Natural History Museum in London were surprised at the size of the worm and speculated that the particularly nutrient-rich soil in the region could have caused it to grow so long.

Emma Sherlock, a scientist at the museum and the head of the Earthworm Society of Britain, said: "With worms this size, Paul must have an incredibly fertile and well-drained veg plot with decaying matter quickly recycled back into the soil. Earthworms are incredibly important to keep soils healthy."

Dave was taken to the museum for study and euthanised in order to preserve his body for future research.

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"It's always a very painless process in that we anaesthetise the animal first. We were as kind as we possibly could be," Sherlock told BBC Breakfast.

"We fix him properly and then add him to the national collection, so he's going to be known as Dave for ever more and be available for science and scientists all round the world."

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