Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Billy's Green Earthworms

I don't know if the earthworms I discovered in my Northeast Greensboro, North Carolina garden a few years ago might be endangered but they are apparently thriving alongside the regular earthworms in my garden.

Clicking on the photographs enlarges them.

When I first discovered these green earthworms several years ago I carried some of them to the Guilford County Agricultural Extension Office about a mile away and asked them to identify them. They couldn't. They were few and far between when I first found them but now they outnumber the regular earthworms though I've no shortage of those either. You can hardly stick a shovel in the ground without digging up an earthworm here at my place.

I've searched far and wide and have been told the Allolobophora chlorotica (Green earthworm) only lives in Britain. But here they are right here in my Greensboro, North Carolina, USA garden.

These worms are not dyed nor are the photos retouched. If you'd like to see them up close and personal I'll let you come over and we'll dig a few up.

The other worms in the pictures look like the same worms that have inhabited my yard and gardens for the last 50 or so years.

The green worms do move slower than the red worms. They also behave differently. If you pick up a regular earthworm it will wiggle and attempt to escape but when you pick up my green earth worms they simply coil up and stop moving. I had to move the red worms back into the frame several times while shooting the pictures. As you can well see, I am not a great photographer.

Maybe these are regular earthworms like the NC Ag Extension Service told me they are but if that's the case then why have we not seen green worms until just a few years ago and why are they not the same color as the other worms who exist side by side with them in my garden?

These worms are also limited to my garden and raised beds where the soil is very rich and easily broken. The harder, lower quality soil on which my grass grows, while filled with plenty of regular appearing earthworms, never renders a single green worm when disturbed.