Aporrectodea caliginosa

Digging for Worms

Earthworms play a vital role in creating and maintaining soil ecosystems. But which species of earthworm are present in Hermitage Field Community Meadow?

That was the question we hoped to answer on the 3rd of May when we welcomed Kieran Derek Browne, from the Earthworm Recording Scheme, to teach us how to survey for earthworms in our local meadows.

We had an interesting and educational afternoon surveying for earthworms with our volunteers and establishing a baseline survey for the meadow. 31 different species of earthworm have been recorded in Britain, and we found four of these in Hermitage Field Community Meadow:

Allolobophora chlorotica (commonly known as the green worm)
Aporrectodea caliginosan (commonly known as the grey worm)
Aporrectodea rosea (commonly known as the mucous worm)
Octolasion cyaneum (commonly known as the blue-grey worm)

The latter species, Octolasion cranium, is listed as rare by Natural England. However, it may be more widespread and common than reported.

Our thanks to Carol Edmondson and Catherine Mercer who arranged the event. We hope to host this survey again next year. The event was funded through the Forest of Bowland Hay Time project and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

Sign up to the National Earthworm Recording Scheme Bulletin to keep informed regarding earthworm courses, events and news.

Photo (CC BY 2.0) of Aporrectodea caliginosa by Chih-Han Chang, Johns Hopkins University

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