nightcrawler

(Lumbricus terrestris)

Conservation Status
nightcrawler
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNA - Not applicable

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Earthworms are terrestrial, tube-shaped, segmented animals. They 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 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. It 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. It is a favorite fish bait due to its large size.

The body is cylindrical, 4¼ to 8 long, and stout, often as thick as a pencil. It is pointed in the front, broad and flattened at the rear. There is no head. The front end, referred to as the head end, is dark brown to reddish-brown, darker in front and fading to the rear. The tail end is light reddish-brown. The dark blood vessel can be seen through the body wall at the upper middle (middorsal) part of the tail end.

The body is divided into 120 to 170 segments. Each segment has four pairs of chitinous bristles (chaetae), a lateral pair and a lower (ventral) pair on each side. The chaetae are not visible without strong magnification. They are used to hold parts of the worm in place as other parts elongate, enabling controlled movement. For identification purposes, the four chaetae on each side are referred to as chaeta A, chaeta B, chaeta C, and chaeta D. The distance between C and D is slightly less than between A and B.

The first body segment contains the mouth and a fleshy lobe (prostomium) that covers the mouth when at rest. The prostomium contains chemical receptors that function as sensory organs. It is prehensile and can be used to grab an item, such as a grass leaf, and pull it into the worm’s burrow. There are two small furrows on the upper (dorsal) side that reach the boundary between the first and second segments.

Separating the head and tail ends there is a thick, differently colored, saddle-like ring (clitellum) around segments 32 through 37. The clitellum is unsegmented but has six rounded lobes corresponding to the underlying segments. It is used to store the worm’s eggs.

Like all earthworms, nightcrawlers have both male and female reproductive organs (hermaphroditic). The male pore, from which sperm is expelled, is on a prominent pad on segment 15. The female pore, from which eggs are released, is on segment 14.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 4¼ to 8

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

 

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

They burrow 1 to 2 meters deep into the soil where they spend the day. They come to the surface at night to feed on leaf litter.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Nightcrawlers copulate on the soil surface at night.

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Leaf litter

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 7, 24, 29, 30.

 
  10/19/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Phylum Annelida (annelids)  
  Class Clitellata  
  Subclass Oligochaeta (earthworms)  
  Superorder Metagynophora  
 

Order

Haplotaxida  
 

Suborder

Lumbricina (earthworms)  
 

Superfamily

Lumbricoidea  
 

Family

Lumbricidae (earthworms)  
  Subfamily Lumbricinae  
 

Genus

Lumbricus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common earthworm (Britain)

dew worm (Canada)

lob worm (Britain)

nightcrawler (United States)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this annelid.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    nightcrawler      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
 
     
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this annelid.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Lumbricus terrestris borrowing
Equipe TICE SupAgro
 
   
 
About

Jan 6, 2016

 
  Lumbricus terrestris
Kamil Corebanek
 
   
 
About

Apr 1, 2010

 
  Lumbricus terrestris
banq0o
 
   
 
About

Oct 9, 2013

Important info from wiki:
In parts of Europe, notably the Atlantic fringe of northwestern Europe, it is now locally endangered due to predation by the New Zealand flatworm (Arthurdendyus triangulatus) and the Australian flatworm (Australoplana sanguinea), two predatory flatworms accidentally introduced from New Zealand and Australia. These predators are very efficient earthworm eaters, being able to survive for lengthy periods with no food, so still persist even when their prey has dropped to unsustainably low populations. In some areas, this is having a seriously adverse effect on the soil structure and quality. The soil aeration and organic material mixing previously done by the earthworms has ceased in some areas.

 
  How To Identify Canadian Nightcrawlers Lumbricus Terrestris
Pauly Piccirillo
 
   
 
About

Aug 13, 2015

http://www.wormfarmingrevealed.com/

Learn how to identify Canadian Nightcrawlers easily. With just a quick look and ability to identify a few key features you'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt if you have a Canadian Nightcrawler (Lumbricus Terrestris) or not.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this annelid.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Alfredo Colon
6/17/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

nightcrawler  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 10/20/2019

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2021 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.