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Are blackworms available in the UK ?

This is a discussion on Are blackworms available in the UK ? within the Tubifex, Blackworms, other aquatic worms forums, part of the Food: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried, Pellets, etc category; I cannot source commercial black worm in the UK, are they actually illegal to keep ? Or illegal to import?...

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Old 26th January 2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I cannot source commercial black worm in the UK, are they actually illegal to keep ? Or illegal to import?



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Old 26th January 2013   #2 (permalink)
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I just found out the live worms I've been getting here at various LFS's are live blackworms not live bloodworms :-/
weird because I always ask for live bloodies & no one has ever corrected me. Are these the worms you're looking for?



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Old 26th January 2013   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I am reffering to live blackworm, rather than frozen etc Google Image Result for http://www.aquaticfoods.com/images/blackworms1.jpg



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Old 26th January 2013   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I don't think there is anyone growing them in commercial quantities as food in the UK and they are potentially an invasive organism but I have not found anything to suggest they are illegal and they are probably available in small quantities if you want to culture them yourself.

I'll PM you a UK company stocking them in small quantities.



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Old 26th January 2013   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Bloodworm are midge larvae and are gathered from pools in the UK, i would have thought that blackworm would be the larvae of something that does not occur in the UK as i have never seen any live ones for sale.

Just my theory, i could be totally wrong.



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Old 27th January 2013   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Blackworms are aquatic cousins to earthworms, not the larvae of anything.



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Old 27th January 2013   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I've spent the last day reading round blackworms, the species Lumbriculus varegatus is very widely distributed and a bit like tiger salamanders may be a cluster of similar species or one depending on who you read.

It is my understanding that it is widely used and commercially grown in the US where it is often sold in cultures which include a predatory flatworm. Importing to Europe seems a bad idea.

Why are they not available here? They are present in shallow mud in the UK. Culture is supposed to be easy, all I need is a UK source.

Reference-

The vertical distribution of macroinvertebrates in the substratum of the upper reaches of the R. Wye, Wales
D.L. Morris & M.P. Brooker Department of Applied Biology, UWIST, Cardiff, Wales

I own a few acres of muddy lake in the upper reaches of a different but ecologically similar river system - I'm going on a blackworm hunt here!- Bog and lake drainage



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Old 28th January 2013   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I tried culturing them, and they were very slow to culture and not worth the bother in my mind when we have live bloodworm and live tubifex available here.
I have found live bloodworm to be the favoured food of EVERY species of newt Ive kept through the years aquatic or terrestrial, thats untill the larger newt species outgrow them due to bloodworm being so small.



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Old 28th January 2013   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I bought a small (and expensive) culture from Sciento:

Sciento: Welcome to Sciento

which is ticking over slowly at the moment.

I also have large amounts living in my water butt. I'd always assumed these were tubifex (before I bought the culture) but it turns out these are blackworms too. If anyone's interested in trying to culture these, I could probably send some out (PM me) at postage cost, when the ice is gone...

Some of my newts like these a lot, some aren't that bothered.



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Old 28th January 2013   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I have all sorts of things growing in my water butt. It looks like I need to explore its murky depths to see what is now growing in there.



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Old 28th January 2013   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I've done a search of distribution at gbif.org There are only six recorded occurrences in the US 200 in the UK and with typical Dutch efficiency 7359 in the Netherlands. They must have surveyed every canal and river at less than 1kM intervals.



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Old 28th January 2013   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Do you have any fish hatcheries near you. They grow like crazy in the waste water collection ponds. I find them in a small swampy area that is a about 10 inches deep that contains daphnia and other insects but no fish . Maybe that will help you find an area to collect them or one of their cousins



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Old 28th January 2013   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

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Originally Posted by Coastal Groovin View Post
Do you have any fish hatcheries near you. They grow like crazy in the waste water collection ponds. I find them in a small swampy area that is a about 10 inches deep that contains daphnia and other insects but no fish . Maybe that will help you find an area to collect them or one of their cousins
Thanks, I think there is a local fish hatchery. If I fail to find them easily in the lake I'll contact them. Shallowish swampy areas with a bit of debris but good water quality seems to be blackworm habitat. I'm after a local strain.



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Old 28th January 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

I'm not sure what the aquatic worms in my garden bin are but larvae love them and they look very similar to what the US call blackworm. The largest are 4cm long, dark red/purple in colour and segmented. Not thin and curly like tubifex. They're fiddly to collect in large numbers but if your search draws blanks Oceanblue I can provide you with some. It would be interesting to compare them with Caleb's. I believe mine were introduced with some water lilies about 10 years ago.

When I dig some out I'll take a video of them.



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Old 28th January 2013   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
I'm not sure what the aquatic worms in my garden bin are but larvae love them and they look very similar to what the US call blackworm. The largest are 4cm long, dark red/purple in colour and segmented. Not thin and curly like tubifex. They're fiddly to collect in large numbers but if your search draws blanks Oceanblue I can provide you with some. It would be interesting to compare them with Caleb's. I believe mine were introduced with some water lilies about 10 years ago.

When I dig some out I'll take a video of them.
Thanks, I'll do my own hunt and then I think a gathering in of samples of UK blackworm and comparison with the North American commercial ones may be indicated. There is one paper suggesting there are two clades representing species of different ploidy levels (chromosome counts) with both clades present in Europe and America.



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Old 30th January 2013   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

The ice has melted and whilst collecting some daphnia this morning I fished out a few of my aquatic worms to video. The lines on the paper are approximately 1cm apart for scale.

Let me know what you think they are and how they compare to US blackworm. They should be easy to culture as this is one net scoop from a large garden bin.



PS. For the best quality view on Youtube at 1080p, full screen. It doesn't look great at 360p in a tiny viewer.




Last edited by Mark; 30th January 2013 at 13:01. Reason: added viewing tip
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Old 30th January 2013   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

They look like blackworms to me. I take it they are segmented. I've scooped around in my various buckets without success, cannot look in the local river (its an SSSI so I need permission which I will seek if needed) and hope to sample the lake tomorrow).

So all us american envying europeans don't need to look very far.



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Old 30th January 2013   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Yes, they are segmented. Attached is a screen grab from the movie at 1080p which gives more detail.
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Are blackworms available in the UK ?-worms.jpg  



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Old 30th January 2013   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

They seem to have an appropriate number of segments. This ia a useful summary of biology, ecology and basic culture methods.

Lumbriculus variegatus



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Old 30th January 2013   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are blackworms available in the UK ?

Mine are very similar, photo should be attached.

One of the reasons I assumed these were tubifex was that the water butt is not shallow clean water- it's about 3 feet deep and a bit smelly.
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Are blackworms available in the UK ?-dscn7997.jpg  



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