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?
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
us with comments, suggestions and questions.