Say Hello to My Little Friends

European Nightcrawlers

Kinda felt like taking some worm photos today, and thought I would make a blog post out of it. My first image is a close-up shot of a group of European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis). I haven’t written much about my Euro bin in quite some time, so they certainly deserve some time in the limelight!

I hope to chat more about Euros in upcoming posts – I’m actually planning to test out Euro growth/reproduction, to see how it compares with that of Red Worms.

Looking at a shot with only Euros in it doesn’t really tell you how big they are in comparison to Reds, so I included a look from further out (same photo, but now including a group of Reds beside the Euros)

European Nightcrawlers & Red Worms

As you can see, these Red Worms have a striping pattern (similar to the Euros). Many of my Reds don’t have this, and look more like the photo below. The worms in the lower photo are actually smaller than the striped ones. I’m always amazed by the differences in appearance from one population of Red Worms to the next. I once believed that Reds living in manure tended to become larger and striped, but neither the ‘wild’ manure worms I was given this past spring, or those in the picture below (which were raised in manure) seem to have any striping.

Red Worms

I’m wondering if perhaps the smaller darker worms might be the very close relative of Eisenia fetida, Eisenia andrei. I’ve read that many Red Worm populations are actually a mixture of these two species (seem to recall that E. andrei tends to be smaller). That being said, I’ve also read that they can only be distinguished from one another reliably via molecular analysis, so I’m not really sure.

Anyway, they are all good composting worms – and that’s what counts!

[tags]eisenia fetida, eisenia hortensis, eisenia andrei, red worms, red wigglers, euros, european nightcrawlers, worm photos[/tags]

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    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • July 30, 2008

    Great photos Bentley! Those Euros are HUGE!! I’ll have to see if my neighborhood tackle shop carries those monsters…me want instant compost!

    • Jeff
    • July 31, 2008

    Hi Bentley

    While working around my yard this year I have found out that the Euros are soil dwelling worms as well, I have been doing some building this year, And I am not very good at picking up after myself, after a week I decide it is time to pick up the left over wood from last weeks building. under each board I find a handful of Euros, 30 feet away from the worm beds that are in a shed and about the same distance away from any flower beds that we used worm casting with the egg cocoons in it.
    The soil I have here is a heavy clay even.
    The way it looks is if I would like to go fishing with the euros I just have to put a board on the ground or a peace cardboard for a few days and I will have all the Euros I need to go fishing.


    • Bentley
    • July 31, 2008

    Kim – don’t let the size fool you. Pound for pound, Red Worms are almost certainly faster composters. That being said, Euros are definitely fun to keep and they produce fantastic castings!

    Jeff – thanks for sharing that. Really interesting!
    I may try adding some Euros to my various outdoor compost gardens – maybe that will be their ideal habitat!


    • Dwayne Clark
    • August 1, 2008

    Good lookin worms!

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