Ice worm (Enchytraeidae) with finger for scale

Chilly! - the amazing ice worm lives in glaciers
Credit: Southwick3 CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The majority of insects and other invertebrates hibernate during the winter, since they do not produce their own body heat like mammals and birds it is too cold for them to be active. However, 10cm under the ground the soil is often a few degrees warmer than the air and many soil animals are still active, including earthworms - I recently found 16 earthworms from a soil pit at a farm where the soil temperature was 4°C!

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Two Lumbricus festivus earthworms on a hand

Lumbricus festivus from an allotment in Lymington, note the prominent male pore between the saddle and the head.

I came across the earthworm species Lumbricus festivus while sampling an allotment as part of my PhD recently and it was remarked how appropriate the name was for this time of year, so I thought I would profile it on the Earthworm Watch blog.

Lumbricus festivus is one of the less well known earthworm species in the UK and less common earthworm species, with less than 100 records in the National Earthworm Recording Scheme, although this is probably due to under-recording rather than true rarity.

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British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2016

British Ecological Society Annual Meeting t-shirt and programme

If a scientist does research and doesn’t tell anyone about it, have they done research at all?

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Today is World Soil Day – an important annual occasion aimed at raising awareness of the critical role that soils play in our lives. Soils are important for everyone, as almost everything we need to survive is dependent on them. If you think about the clothes on your back, the food that you eat, the air that you breathe or the water that you drink, essentially it can be traced back to the soil.

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Investigate, experiment and learn more about science in the news!

On Saturday 26th November, Earthworm Watch will take part in Super Science Saturday, an event hosted by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The museum is one of the most historically and scientifically important and beautiful natural history museums in the world. The event will allow the opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about important scientific research reported in the news, including meeting some of the scientists behind that research.

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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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