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Scientific name: Eisenia fetida Common name:tiger worm Status:introduced Soil niche:epigeic Length:30–130 mm The tiger worm gets its name from its red and yellow striped body. It is most commonly found in compost piles, living close to the surface of the soil. Tiger worms will not live for long if transplanted into normal soil. Tiger worms are cultivated and sold as compost worms. They reproduce easily provided they have plenty of food. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Tiger worm
Scientific name: Lumbricus rubellus Common name:dung worm Status:introduced Soil niche:epigeic Length:25–150 mm The dung worm is a reddish brown colour with a purple sheen. It is iridescent in bright light and has a red saddle. It is active when disturbed. The dung worm lives in the upper 5 cm of soil but is also found in cow pats or in horse manure. Very common in New Zealand. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Dung worm
Scientific name: Dendrodrilus rubidus Common name:bark worm Status:introduced Soil niche:epigeic Length:20–100 mm The bark worm is a litter-dwelling earthworm. It is short, bright red and has faint yellow colouring near the tip of its tail. The bark worm produces around 40–100 cocoons (egg cases) per year. This is a lot compared to some other earthworms. Bark worms live close to the soil surface so their young have a reduced chance of survival due to predation, temperature changes or drought. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Bark worm
Scientific name: Amynthas corticus Common name:snake worm Status:introduced Soil niche:epigeic Length:70–180 mm The snake worm gets its name from its long, slender body and its habit of writhing like a snake when it is disturbed. The snake worm is greenish brown in colour and lives at or near the soil surface. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Snake worm
Scientific name: Allolobophora chlorotica Common name:green worm Status:introduced Soil niche:endogeic Length:40–70 mm The green worm is greenish brown in colour. The colouration works as camouflage, helping to protect the earthworm from predators. The green worm coils stiffly when disturbed. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Green worm
Scientific name: Aporrectodea caliginosa Common name:grey worm Status:introduced Soil niche:endogeic Length:40–100 mm The grey worm is the most common earthworm in New Zealand. It is grey with a dark pink head. It ingests (eats) large amounts of soil and the organic matter in it. Grey worms live in the top 20–30 cm of soil. They are common in pastures throughout the country. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Grey worm
Scientific name: Aporrectodea rosea Common name:pink worm Status:introduced Soil niche:endogeic Length:25–85 mm The pink worm is small. It has a pale pink head and tail. Its clitellum – the glandular ring or saddle near the head – is dark, pinkish orange. The pink worm lives in the top 20–30 cm depth of soil. Like other endogeic species, these earthworms burrow through the soil, creating channels for air, water and plant roots. It eats plant matter found in the soil. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Pink worm
Scientific name: Aporrectodea trapezoides Common name:southern worm Status:introduced Soil niche:endogeic Length:40–90 mm The southern worm is dark greyish brown in colour. It lives in the top 20–30 cm of soil. It ingests (swallows) soil as it burrows, eating the organic matter. The soil passes through the earthworm’s digestive system. The digestion process can change soil nutrients into a form more accessible to plants. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Southern worm
Scientific name: Octolasion cyaneum Common name:yellow tail Status:introduced Soil niche:endogeic Length:65–180 mm The yellow tail worm is pale grey in colour. It has a distinctive yellow tip at the end of its tail. The yellow tail earthworm is endogeic, living within the top 20–30 cm of soil. It is widespread throughout New Zealand but less common than the grey worm or dung worm. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Yellow tail worm
Scientific name: Aporrectodea longa Common name:blackhead worm Status:introduced Soil niche:anecic Length:90–120 mm The blackhead worm is a large earthworm. It is dark greyish brown in colour with a distinctive black head. Blackhead earthworms are deep burrowers. Their burrows can extend as deep as 3 metres. They look for food on the soil surface and then drag it down into their burrows. They tend to make permanent or semi-permanent burrows. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Blackhead worm
Scientific name: Lumbricus terrestris Common name:nightcrawler Status:introduced Soil niche:anecic Length:90–300 mm The nightcrawler is a very large earthworm. It is reddish brown with a purple sheen and appears iridescent in bright light. It is a deep-burrowing earthworm. Nightcrawlers feed on the soil surface. They pull leaves and other organic materials down into their burrows. Nightcrawlers are useful in orchards, where they remove leaves that fall to the ground. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Nightcrawler
Scientific name: Octochaetus multiporus Status:native Soil niche:anecic Length:up to 300 mm O. multiporus is native to New Zealand. It is a large earthworm, growing up to 30 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter. It is pale in colour with a purple streak that runs along the top of its body. O. multiporus lives in the subsoil at depths of 3–5 metres. It makes extensive, permanent burrows. O. multiporus is bioluminescent. When disturbed, it squirts out a bright yellow- orange fluid that glows in the dark. Maori traditionally used O. multiporus as baits and fishing lures. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms Octochaetus multiporus
The Science Learning Hub would like to thank Ross Gray for the use of his images for this activity. © Copyright University of Waikato. All rights reserved. | Science Stories > Earthworms > Common New Zealand earthworms
Scientific name: Eisenia fetida Common name:tiger worm Status:introduced Soil niche:epigeic Length:30–130 mm The tiger worm gets its name from its red.
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© red ©
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