How many earthworms and data sets have we recorded so far?

The humble earthworm is often out of sight and out of mind, with many only surfacing under the cover of darkness to feed and mate. Despite our chance encounters with elusive earthworms, these salt of the earth creatures are busy continually ploughing the soil under our feet. This tireless burrowing has earned them the nickname of ecosystem engineers, as their burrows structure the earth, creating pores that stop the soil becoming waterlogged, by increasing water infiltration rates of up to 10 fold.

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Deep living earthworm Lumbricus terrestris on autumn leaves

Deep living earthworm Lumbricus terrestris on autumn leaves

By taking part in Earthworm Watch in your garden, allotment or other green space near you, the team hope you’ve had the opportunity to record your observations of surface, soil and deep-living earthworms. You can find out more about these earthworm eco-types (which refers to their feeding habits and where they live within the soil) by visiting the science section of our website.

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The Bobbit(t) worm Eunice aphroditois mentioned by Emma Sherlock in her weird wormy wonders talk at the ESB AGM © Jenny Huang CC BY 2.0

The Bobbit(t) worm Eunice aphroditois mentioned by Emma Sherlock in her weird wormy wonders talk at the ESB AGM

© Jenny Huang CC BY 2.0

There has been a society devoted to bird conservation in Britain since 1889 - The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland was established even earlier, in 1836 for wild plants. Yet both birds and plants in part rely on earthworms to flourish, both as a food source and through their actions in the soil.

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Thanks to all of you who have signed up and submitted data for Earthworm Watch which has seen a surge over the summer period with an increase in the spread of data points. We will be sending out a summary of the Spring/Summer season soon.

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Conversation with Smaug by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit.

Conversation with Smaug by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit.

Whilst Earthworm Watch is keen to promote the value that earthworms have through their activities in the soil and how our scientific data (that you are actively helping us to gather) can improve their populations by better understanding their habitats, references to worms in literature, folklore and mythology is a fascinating one.

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About Us

Earthworm Watch is a collaboration between Earthwatch Institute (Europe) and the Natural History Museum in London

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