Interesting question from Erika:
I have read on some sites that the Eisenia hortensis (Euro Nightcrawler) and the Dendrobaena veneta (also known as Dendrabaena hortensis or Dendra) are the same worm. I know they can’t be since they have a different scientific name, but figure they are closely related by looking at their names. I have read on your site (which is great by the way) that you have been using the Euros. Have you tried the Dendras? If so which did you prefer for both composting, and for reproducing? I have been raising Eisenia fetida for almost a year now with much luck in Wyoming but would like to branch out into other types of worms.
If you have already answered this please let me know where I can find it. I will continue to browse your site and see what else I can find that I never knew I needed to know!! Thank you so much. Erika
Your logic is certainly on target here – different scientific names should indeed indicate a completely different species. Given the fact that we are talking about different genera altogether (Eisenia vs Dendrobaena), makes it all the more likely that we are talking about very different worms!
There’s only one problem…
As fantastic as scientific ‘binomial nomenclature’ is, unfortunately from time to time those pesky scientists throw a wrench into the system and mess things up!
Every so often researchers will update the scientific name for a given species – typically once new evidence indicates that it is actually more closely related to species in another family, genus etc. Often it’s not as drastic a change as in the case of Eisenia/Dendrobaena – assigning various subspecies groupings for a given species for example, is something that occurs more often (especially with microbes and other teeny tiny critters)
As annoying as these discrepencies can be, it is really important for the scientist to make the change since it helps group organisms more accurately moving forward. Unfortunately there is no ‘CNN’ for mundane scientific news (like name updates) so this info doesn’t exactly go mainstream once it is announced! As such, these older names can end up lingering for quite some time.
What interesting about this particular case (and something that definitely does not help!!) is the fact that the Dendrobaena veneta name is still very widely used in Europe for some reason, while the new name has gained a lot more acceptance over here in North America.
Anyway, the bottom-line here Erika is that ‘YES’ I have been using Dendros and Euros – but only because they are one and the same!
Hope this helps!