Minnesota Worms and Leeches


Phylum Annelida

Annelida (segmented worms) is the phylum of invertebrates that includes bristleworms, ragworms, earthworms, leeches, and their allies. There are more than 22,000 living species of annelids.

Annelids are characterized by the following:

  • a long segmented body
  • three body regions: head, segmented body, and tail (pygidium)
  • hair-like extensions (chaetae) on each body segment
  • the same internal organs in each body segment

  Photo by Alfredo Colon  


Recent Additions


Earthworms are not native to Minnesota. If they ever were, they did not survive the last period of glaciation that ended 11,700 years ago. We do not know if they ever occurred in Minnesota because, having neither an internal skeleton nor an exoskeleton, their bodies do not fossilize. There are at least fifteen species of earthworms found in Minnesota. All of them were imported from Europe and Asia.

Nightcrawler (Lumbricus terrestris) is a common, large earthworm. It is native to western Europe but is now widely distributed throughout the temperate and mildly boreal regions of the world.


Photo by Alfredo Colon

Nightcrawler is considered invasive outside of its native range, including in Minnesota. Its spread is attributed to human activities, including the movement of soil as ship’s ballast, importation of exotic plants, and disposal of fish bait. It is not the most abundant earthworm in Minnesota but it is the most often encountered.

Nightcrawler is identified by the large size, up to 8 long; the stout body, often as thick as a pencil; the broad, flattened posterior; the well-developed “saddle”; and the color, dark in front and light behind the saddle.

Other Recent Additions











This list includes only segmented worms that have been recorded in Minnesota, but not all of the segmented worms found in Minnesota.


Profile Photo Video      

Canadian worm (Aporrectodea tuberculata)




















































crazy worm (Amynthas agrestis)


earthworm (Octolasion tyrteum)


horse leech (Haemopis sanguisuga)


jumping worm (Amynthas loveridgei)


jumping worm (Amynthas tokioensis)


jumping worm (Metaphire hilgendorfii)


leech (Actinobdella inequiannulata))


leech (Dina parva)


leech (Dina fervida)


leech (Erpobdella obscura)


leech (Erpobdella punctata)


leech (Glossiphonia complanata)


leech (Glossiphonia elongata)


leech (Glossiphonia fusca)


leech (Glossiphonia lineata)


leech (Glossiphonia nepheloidea)


leech (Glossiphonia parasitica)


leech (Glossiphonia stagnalis)


leech (Glossiphonia triserialis)


leech (Haemopis grandis)


leech (Haemopis lateralis)


leech (Haemopis marmoratis)


leech (Haemopis plumbeus)


leech (Helobdella fusca)


leech (Helobdella stagnalis)


leech (Hemiclepsis occidentalis)


leech (Macrobdella decora)


leech (Nephelopsis obscura)


leech (Piscicola punctata)


leech (Placobdella hollensis)


leech (Placobdella montifera)


leech (Placobdella ornata)


leech (Placobdella papillifera)


leech (Placobdella pediculata)


leech (Placobdella rugosa)

Profile Photo Video  

nightcrawler (Lumbricus terrestris)


North American medicinal leech (Macrobdella decora)


octagonal-tailed worm (Dendrobaena octaedra)


red wiggler (Eisenia fetida)


red worm (Lumbricus rubellus)


rose angle worm (Aporrectodea rosea)


smooth turtle leech (Placobdella parasitica)


square-tailed worm (Eiseniella tetraedra)

Actinobdella inequiannulata (leech)

Amynthas agrestis (crazy worm)

Amynthas loveridgei (jumping worm)

Amynthas tokioensis (jumping worm)

Aporrectodea rosea (rose angle worm)

Aporrectodea tuberculata (Canadian worm)

Dendrobaena octaedra (octagonal-tailed worm)

Dina fervida (leech)

Dina parva (leech)

Eisenia fetida (red wiggler)

Eiseniella tetraedra (square-tailed worm)

Erpobdella obscura (leech)

Erpobdella punctata (leech)

Glossiphonia complanata (leech)

Glossiphonia elongata (leech)

Glossiphonia fusca (leech)

Glossiphonia lineata (leech)

Glossiphonia nepheloidea (leech)

Glossiphonia parasitica (leech)

Glossiphonia stagnalis (leech)

Glossiphonia triserialis (leech)

Haemopis grandis (leech)

Haemopis lateralis (leech)

Haemopis marmoratis (leech)

Haemopis plumbeus (leech)

Haemopis sanguisuga (horse leech)

Helobdella fusca (leech)

Helobdella stagnalis (leech)

Hemiclepsis occidentalis (leech)

Lumbricus rubellus (red worm)

Lumbricus terrestris (nightcrawler)

Macrobdella decora (leech)

Macrobdella decora (North American medicinal leech)

Metaphire hilgendorfii (jumping worm)

Nephelopsis obscura (leech)

Octolasion cyaneum (blue-grey worm)

Octolasion tyrteum (earthworm)

Piscicola punctata (leech)

Placobdella hollensis (leech)

Placobdella montifera (leech)

Placobdella ornata (leech)

Placobdella papillifera (leech)

Placobdella parasitica (smooth turtle leech)

Placobdella pediculata (leech)

Placobdella rugosa (leech)


No Species Page Yet?

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