Great Lakes Worm Watch

Worm Identification »

European vs Asian Earthworms

In addition to the European species of earthworms invading across the region, several Asian species of earthworms (in the genus “Amynthas”)  are quite widespread on the east coast, but are only now beginning to spread across most of the Great Lakes Region. They are commonly found in compost and leave mulch because they are very good composting worms. However, they have great potential for very destructive impacts in native forests as well as some gardens. Amynthas has been implicated in the die-off of garden plants in several areas where they were accidentally introduced with a load of mulch brought to the site. If you see an earthworm like this, we want to know. REPORT IT!

Key differences:

Setae: European 8 arranged around the setae, Asian bristle like, very distinctive
Clitellum: European saddle-shaped – Asian annular

The bristle-like setae pattern and wild behavior associated with this genus make it easy to identify. It gets its common name from the way it can “jump” around, in a very unworm-like way.

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