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Yellow Liquid From Worms

I haven’t done a Q&A post here in awhile, so I figured I’d tackle an interesting one that recently hit my inbox. This one comes from Jim:

Hi, I want to take some red worms into my 3rd grade class
and talk about vericulture composting. I picked up a worm and it
secrected a yelllow liquid in my hand from the band near its head.
What can I tell the kids it is?

Hi Jim,
This liquid is known as coelomic fluid, which comes (not too suprisingly) from the ‘coelom’.

So what exactly is the coelom??

It is a large fluid-filled cavity that extends the entire length of the worm, located between the body wall and the alimentary canal (the digestive system). Worms release coelomic fluid for a number of reasons, one of those being stress. As such, Red Worms will sometimes release this liquid as a defense mechanism when they are feeling threatened.

Not that you likely would have wanted to test this out, but according to Edwards and Bohlen (1996), Eisenia fetida (the Red Worm) gets its name from the fact that its coelomic fluid smells like garlic (‘fetid’ basically means foul smelling).

Another interesting tidbit gleaned from Edwards and Bohlen (1996) – there is apparently a species of earthworm known as the “squirter earthworm” (Didymogaster sylvaticus) that can shoot coelomic fluid as far as 30 cm!!

Needless to say, you probably wouldn’t want to pick that one up!
😯

Anyway, Jim – perhaps this was more of an answer than you bargained for (haha), but hopefully it helped!


REFERENCES
Edwards, C.A. and P.J. Bohlen. 1996. The biology and ecology of earthworms (3rd Edition). Chapman & Hall, London, 426pp.

Written by Bentley on January 13th, 2009 with 11 comments.
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11 comments

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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Nicholas
#1. January 13th, 2009, at 11:24 PM.

I’ve seen an earthworm and the curb of my street and picked it up and all this sticky white substance came out on me. What might that be. I hope it wasn’t attracted to me.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Bentley
#2. January 14th, 2009, at 5:54 PM.

Hi Nicholas,
Coelomic fluid is white in many varieties of worms, so I’m pretty sure that’s what you saw.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#3. March 22nd, 2018, at 6:40 AM.

Weird. But sometimes it is in bluish green colour. Is this the same????

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Bentley
#4. March 22nd, 2018, at 4:36 PM.

I think your worms need to go see a doctor about that, BBK! 😉

Joking aside – my first question is, what kind of worms do you have?

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#5. March 23rd, 2018, at 4:54 AM.

Hello Please tell me. I’m very scared. Many worms coming out in my house. Often crawling on me. How to get rid of this damn creature????

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#6. March 23rd, 2018, at 4:55 AM.

Give me your website please. I’ll send its pictures…..

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#7. March 23rd, 2018, at 4:56 AM.

Sorry E-mail id

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#8. March 23rd, 2018, at 10:27 AM.

Is blind snake a worm or a snake?????

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Bentley
#9. March 23rd, 2018, at 10:33 AM.

Hi BBK – sounds like a strange “creature” for sure. Do you have a worm bin? Where are these things coming from? If you are using a worm composting bin and the worms are crawling out all over the place they are likely “Blue Worms” (Perionyx). But I get the feeling you are not a worm composter (correct me if I am wrong about that). Blind snake is a reptile – and I am not sure why you would have many of them in your house.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#10. March 24th, 2018, at 5:12 AM.

Oh yes!. I’m 15 yrs old. I’m not a worm composter. And I got rid of the worms. I don’t have blind snake in my house. I’m in India. Blind snake is rare here. Just I gone through the internet. Thank you. When I visit my native place I’ll msg you. As there are many earthworms………

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com BBK
#11. March 24th, 2018, at 5:18 AM.

I’ve forgot to inform. Plz check or ask anyone about the worms forming in cassia auriculata plant. It was from that plant.

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