They appear to be very dark, overly large worms - perhaps a handspan in length and half as thick as a finger. That and their matt, dull skin marks them as something other than a typical earthworm.
Custom among pirates to yearly vote for their leader. If a majority believed the leader was doing poorly they could hold another vote. Democratic except in times of battle and danger at sea. Could bleed that over to some 'honorable' bandits.