Earthworm

Lumbricus spp.

Earthworm, Worm, Lob Worm, Dew Worm

Lumbricus terrestris R.H (1) by Rob Hille (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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A close up photograph of an earthworm in the mud Lumbricus terrestris
Lumbricus terrestris R.H (1) by Rob Hille (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 3
Earthworms are tubular, segmented Annelids; closely related to marine worms and leeches. These worms are often termed ecosystem engineers because they provide two main services to the wider ecosystem. They do wonders for the soil. Their wriggling and squirming encourage the movement of water and minerals, aerating the soil as they go. These processes cause large pieces of organic matter to be broken up into a more useful byproduct known as humus, ultimately improving the fertility of the soil! In addition to this, they're a primary resource for many garden creatures, including mammals, reptiles and birds.

Traits

Worms eat organic matter, but they also ingest smaller soil particles. They excrete these in the form of casts. Casts are jam-packed with accessible nutrients for plants!
Casts may be unsightly. Likewise, worms can attract other animals like moles. The damage they cause is only aesthetic.

Appearance

Earthworms are tubular, segmented worms that are a pinkish-brown colour and slimy to touch. They are normally somewhere between 20-30cm in size.

Symptoms

Earthworms are a primary food source for things like moles, which may generate molehills where present.

Personality

Order

Haplotaxida

Family

Lumbricidae

Distribution

Worldwide.

Biological treatment

We don't suggest removing worms from the garden because they do a wealth of good for wildlife communities. Not only are they a key resource for mammals and birds, but they also do wonders for the soil in terms of its composition and formation.

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