I don't like these things. Kinda creepy, like giant maggots. Can we engineer some googly eyes or something?
Canary Worms are a genetically engineered species designed to simulate the physiology of most Sophonts. Their purpose is to scout out areas first, working as a warning system to hostile contagions. Since their conception in Perduro, and their success in alerting miners to the Arse Lung, Canary Worms now are employed in all situations where potential environmental hazards are present. They are considered the good-luck maggot; if someone sees them alive, then they can rest assured that the area is safe. If someone sees dead worms, then it is best to avoid the area entirely.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...the worm's dead? Time to get the fuck out!
After the first outbreak of Arse Lung, the planet of Perduro was in crisis. Miner morale was low, getting people to work within the now tainted mines of Mount Dau-Sajhrashi cost a major cut of the profits. The owners of the mines and Digger Company itself needed an affordable way to ensure safety. Enter the genetic engineering team of Digger Company. Using a native ground worm, they engineered its organs to match the consistency and tolerances of a Sophonts own. These worms were designed to die upon ingesting or being infected by any sort of malicious body. Worms were sprinkled throughout the mineshaft. If they died then the area would be incinerated, if they lived, then the workers would return to duty.
"Carmine, I'd like you to bring me more of that water you found earlier for study. It seemed to calm the Canary Worms. More than calm actually. They almost seemed drunk which is strange. If I knew more about it, perhaps we could use it to help domesticate the wildlife, make them more agreeable."
When Perduro was relinked with the rest of the universe, the blueprints of the Canary worms were sold to eager Banners looking to improve colonist survival rates. Soon enough, the lost-cost survival worms were deployed standard on every Habitat drop.