Two Waitomo tour guides are trying to hook a Hobbit or two with a rare invertebrate known as the velvet worm.
The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company operations manager Angus Stubbs and cave tour guide Ross O'Halloran are hoping photos of the rare peripatopsids invertebrate snapped in the caves this week will pique the interest of The Lord of the Rings actors Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd.
Boyd told the Waikato Times he and Monaghan, who played Hobbits Merry and Pippin, are filming a wildlife show called Wild Things in New Zealand in November.
They hope to include unusual creatures.
"Angus is just emailing a couple of pics of a very rare old and weird creature we have in the cave," Mr O'Halloran told the Waikato Times after reading about Boyd and Monaghan's plan. "And no, it's not me."
"It's a crazy, mushy, gooey creature, and they are just the weirdest," Mr Stubbs said. "They spit on their prey, exactly what these guys are after for Wild Things.
"I would have seen half a dozen in the 45 years I have been involved with the caves," Mr Stubbs said.
Mr Stubbs reckons he could lay his hands on one if he had to produce one for the camera.
"It might take a little bit of searching, but I should be able to find one."
Wikipedia describes the invertebrates as obscurely segmented organisms which have tiny eyes, antennae, multiple pairs of legs and slime glands. They prey on smaller animals such as insects, which they catch by squirting sticky mucus.
Boyd will visit New Zealand this month for the Armageddon Expo in Auckland.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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