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I suspect your climber was an introduced Dendrodrilus rubidus European bark worm which is indeed only epigeic with some inclination to climb trees.
Why did the earthworm climb the tree?
The first to invade are the epigeic species that live in, and therefore consume, the litter layer.
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yarb commented on the word epigeic
Citation on hypogeic.
December 5, 2008