Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

Are the mating habits of a red wiggler the same as those of an earthworm? Worms have both sexual organs, but can a single worm reproduce?

Glenda

 

DEAR GLENDA:

Red wigglers are epigeic (‘nomads’ that build no permanent homes and feed on decaying organic matter in soil), and they have relatively short lifespans (just a few years). According to The Earth Moved: On the remarkable achievements of earthworms by worm guru Amy Stewart (Algonquin, 2004), they are “known to reproduce quickly to match the available food source.” All this makes them an excellent choice for vermicomposting. They thrive in compost and worm bins, leaf and manure piles. Anecic worms such as large burrowing nightcrawlers live deep in the soil; small yellowish-brown endogeic worms prefer the root zone.

For most earthworms, it does indeed take two to reproduce (and ‘earthworm’ is a term encompassing all soil-dwelling worms, including the infamous red wiggler). According to Stewart: “Because earthworms are hermaprhodites--they have both sets of sexual organs--they must arrange their bodies in such a way that the male organs of one line up with the female organs of the other.”

Thanks for asking
NF

 

 

 

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