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Lumbricus terrestris

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Worms for all

By Heather 11 years ago

The Common Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris), is easy to digest, high in protein and loved by all sorts of birds, such as blackbirds and thrushes through to gulls, curlews and even buzzards. In addition, mammals such as hedgehogs, shrews, moles and badgers like nothing better than fat, juicy earthworms. They are also loved by fish, as many a fisherman will testify to.

Historically, humans (and not just inquisitive babies!) ate worms.

There is a book called “The Worm Book: The Complete Guide to Worms in Your Garden” by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor that has a whole chapter (admittedly only 2 pages long!) devoted to the preparation of worms for eating, followed by tasty (?) recipes.

Here’s one for earthworm meatloaf:

750g (1½ lb) of ground beef
1 cup of boiled earthworms, finely chopped
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1 cup evaporated milk
1 bell pepper chopped
1 slice of fresh bread torn into bits

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a loaf tin. Bake for an hour at 200oC/400oF.

Composting Worms

By Heather 12 years ago

Worms such as Eisenia andreii (commonly known as red worms or "reds") and Eisenia hortensis (these are often called "dendras" as they were formerly known as Dendrabaena veneta) are perfect for composting kitchen waste.

Composting kitchen waste with worms is known as vermiculture.

Composting worms are litter dwellers and can be found in fallen leaves, manure piles or under rotten logs.

“Reds” and “dendras” are perfect for composting systems because they reproduce quickly, tolerate disturbance and process large amounts of organic waste.

Composting worms are very different from garden worms (also known as earth/lob worms or, in the USA, nightcrawlers ), which are known as Lumbricus terrestris. Garden worms are deep burrowing, soil-dwelling species and do not like to be confined.

Worm Wisdom: Seven facts about Earthworms

By Heather 12 years ago

Here are some facts about earthworms:

  • Earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) (also known as lob worms or garden worms) are nature’s ploughs and are crucial for soil aeration. In an acre of land between 16,000-30,000 lbs (7,200-13,500kg) of soil passes through earthworms and is deposited on the surface each year. No wonder archaeologists are so good at digging!

  • How do worms travel? No, not on the underground, but by using their complex muscle system and hairs, called setae.

  • Earthworms do not have teeth, but use a gizzard to grind up pieces of food.

  • Worms don’t have eyes (except in cartoons!), but are sensitive to light.

  • Earthworms don’t have lungs, but instead “breathe” through their skin as long as it stays moist.

  • Earthworms are hermaphrodites ie their bodies contain both male and female reproductive organs.

  • Not content with one heart, earthworms have no fewer than five.