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Do ice worms exist?

Yes, ice worms do, in fact, exist! They are small worms that live in glacial ice in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia; they have not been found in glaciers elsewhere. Contrary to stories and songs, they do not give glacier ice its blue color and they don't grow to lengths of 50 feet. These myths were made popular by poet Robert Service and the annual Cordova Iceworm Festival in Alaska.

Ice worms belong to the genus Mesenchytraeus, the same genus as earthworms. Ice worms are the only annelid worms known to spend their entire lives on glacier ice. Ice worms can be up to an inch long, and can be black or blue in color. The ice worms come to the surface of the glaciers in the evening and morning to feed on snow algae.

Learn more: USGS Water Science School - Glaciers: Things to Know