Anthony talking to visitors on the Science Bar at the Manchester ‘Science Uncovered’

Anthony talking to visitors on the Science Bar at the Manchester ‘Science Uncovered’

I’m Anthony, I’m the Community Engagement Coordinator for Earthwatch Institute and I was delighted to attend ‘Science Uncovered’ for the first time at Manchester University Museum to promote ‘Earthworm Watch’ to A Level students, families and adults. Having previously been involved with ‘Science Uncovered’ or European Researcher’s Night as it is otherwise known at the The Natural History Museum as a Science Educator it was brilliant to be involved.

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Compost worms Eisenia fetida showing yellow tails filled with waste

Compost worms Eisenia fetida showing yellow tails filled with waste

By far the most common question I am asked at outreach events is “is it true if you cut a worm in half you get two worms?” and during the Earthworm Watch feedback survey I was asked: “Do all worm species survive to be two when cut in half?”

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Pouring mustard water to bring up deep-living earthworms

Pouring mustard water to bring up deep-living earthworms

As part of our feedback survey we asked if there were any comments or questions. One question given was why Earthworm Watch uses mustard, if it harms the earthworms and if there are less disruptive methods that could be used. This blog post aims to answer this.

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Allolobophora chlorotica. Photographed by Harry Taylor, copyright: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

Allolobophora chlorotica, pink morph. Photographed by Harry Taylor, copyright: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum.

Inspired by the Natural History Museum’s spectacular new exhibition Colour and Vision, Through the Eyes of Nature, we are sending you on a quest to find a green-coloured earthworm, Allolobophora chlorotica, to add to your species list.

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Eisenia fetida. Photographed by Harry Taylor, copyright: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

Eisenia fetida. Photographed by Harry Taylor, copyright: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

Eisenia fetida is very easily identified by its striped appearance of alternating broad, dark red-brown bands and narrower, pale pink or yellowish bands. Its saddle (the clitellum) is generally the same dark red-brown as the rest of its body.  The species identifier of its binomial namefetida, means foul-smelling, and as it suggests the earthworm can exude an odd smelling yellowish fluid if disturbed – bear this in mind if you decide to handle them. It typically measures 2-6mm in width and 26-130mm in length.

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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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