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Old 24-02-2004, 11:35 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Are english earthworms ecologically better?

I've read that a common worm species found in North America and Europe
(?Lumbricus sp?) has been observed in the UK to practise a curious and
seemingly ecologically beneficial instinct. They pull leaves from atop
forest litter down into their burrows and eat them. I've never seen
this in North America.

"The leaves which are dragged into the burrows as food, after being
torn into the finest shreds, partially digested, and saturated with
the intestinal and urinary secretions, are commingled with much
earth." Charles Darwin:

Is this observed in other worms? Wouldn't this speed soil building,
and arise in worm:worm competition, so be ecosystemically stable, once

I've also heard that the speed of found earthworm movement correlates
inversely with a soil's heavy metal and organophosphate/organohalide
pollutant levels, after a temperature scaling.

I've read also of the Gippsland worm, from near Canberra. I wonder if
such a large worm has greater or lesser benefit or even detriment on
soil health. I guess there are earthworms which eat other earthworms,
as does a planarian accidentally introduced into the Carolina shore
region some dacades ago, which has left soil life desolate in its
unrecognized wake as it colonizes out from its introduction site.

An author freind writing a chapter on earthworm culture served, at a
surprise party, baked worms, which were rather crunchy, and worm/liver
pate, which was earthy in taste, and not unappealing.

Brian Cady