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Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

This is a discussion on Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida within the Earthworms, Nightcrawlers, etc forums, part of the Food: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried, Pellets, etc category; I have always used this kind of worm without any problem, but I read this article and wanted to share ...

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Old 19th January 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I have always used this kind of worm without any problem, but I read this article and wanted to share ...



Feeding Earthworms: Red Wigglers vs. Nightcrawlers - gartersnake.info



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Old 19th January 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I believe it! Would you want to eat something that's called "foetida"? :)



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Old 19th January 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

This is very interesting.
Does anyone know or suspect a case where Eisenia foetida hurt a newt/salamander?

I bought a lot of these because I couldn't dig up any worms in the garden due to cold weather. I am keeping them in clean soil with pieces of cardboard and give them some fruit/vegetable scraps once in a while. I wonder if this helps to clean them a bit?
My T. marmoratus will eat these worms happily and I have seen my A. opacum eat some, too. C. pyrrhogaster are picky, but not all of them and not all the time...



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Old 19th January 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

If the ones being used were cultivated on manure then itīs not the worm thatīs toxic, itīs the substrate it lives in that has the potential of being toxic if ingested.
People have been using Dendrobaena/Eisenia for caudates for a very long time with no ill effects.
They certainly must taste absolutely horrible, because they do smell terribly bad...but i very much doubt the worm itself is toxic in any way, unless perhaps the toxins are specific to snakes, which i doubt.



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Old 19th January 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I know these worms are often discussed here and nobody ever said anything about them actually being dangerous so the article made me wonder.

I have to say that even worms from my garden (the smaller light pink ones) are often refused. They too sometimes have a yellowish liquid coming out of them. I wouldn't be bad to have a visual guide to earthworms with some more info...



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Old 19th January 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I think so with the tubifex or bloodworms, if the culture you do yourself in your house is not as damaging.
My foetida have a mixed substrate: a land of forest, humus, leaves, coconut fiber and feed the worms with leftover vegetables, what if the worms are grown in manure may be more toxic?



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Old 20th January 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

The secretions from red wigglers are toxic. The secretions kill amphibian larvae when mixed in the water (I have that paper somewhere...) and they may very well be toxic to snakes, regardless of whether grown in manure or not. If I were feeding a snake, I would not use red wigglers, period.

However, I have no hesitation to recommend worms of all kinds for newts and sals. Some sals may refuse to eat red wigglers, but when they do eat them, there is no evidence of any toxic effect. I assume that caudates are impervious to the toxin.



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Old 20th January 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

:O So itīs likely that caudates are somewhat resistant.
Are those amphibian larvae you mentioned of caudates?
Some caudates do indeed have resistance to other toxins like those of B.bufo and very possibly to other caudates (after all some species deprade on others on ocassion), so why not be resistant to your main food source.
Thanx for the correction, Jen, this is completely new to me!



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Old 20th January 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

Its strange to me that people can get their animals to eat these worms at all. Despite cutting up and washing for ages, cleaning on kitchen roll and washing again, none of the animals I have ever owned ate these. My alpine newts and H. orientalis refuse these and any 'leaf worms' from the garden. When I was rearing a large number of T. verrucosus larvae a few years ago, I tried feeding compost-reared Eisenia. The larvae ate them with gusto, but most were soon vomited up. Some larvae (these were several inches long) died over the next few weeks, but I'm not sure of the cause.



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Old 20th January 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I use these to feed all my caudates, whole or chopped. My larvae have also consumed them .The only ones that are a tad fussy for me are the opacum, and they will not touch them cut up.



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Old 20th January 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

Can I suggest that there may be some confusion with regards to the definitions of 'manure' and 'compost'?

Compost is generally vegetable matter that is broken down by aerobic bacteria.

Manure is animal faeces...

I would say that whichever type of worm is used as a caudate-food, it's what's inside the worm that is important.

I'd avoid anything that lives in animal faeces for obvious reasons, but worms that live in organic humus are a 'different kettle of fish' (eh? )
I fact I eat organic humus all the time .......no, wait, that's houmous

@froggy.....so its not just me that has alpines and orientalis that are very picky eaters!



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Old 31st January 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

Here is the abstract of the article I was thinking of. They tested coelomic fluid (this is presumably the liquid that leaks out when you cut them) on tadpoles.
ScienceDirect - Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology : Toxicity of coelomic fluid of the earthworm Eisenia foetida to vertebrates but not invertebrates: probable role of sphingomyelin



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Old 31st January 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

Quote:
Originally Posted by froggy View Post
Its strange to me that people can get their animals to eat these worms at all. Despite cutting up and washing for ages...
Cutting them is the problem. Feed whole, or not at all.

I grow E. hortensis. The real value in this food culture is being able to pick out the baby worms. I've never seen these rejected by any newts, and certainly never had any ill effects. The only limitation is that they are time-consuming to pick out.



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Old 16th February 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

Great thread!!

I did a search before I bought Eisenia fetida and saw that others were feeding them to their Axolotls with no problem.
I thought it would be a great way to raise food for my Axy and also do some vermicomposting at the same time.
I just fed him two last night, but this morning I saw what looked to be undigested bits of worms in little piles, so he obviously threw them up after they had been partially digested... He usually loves garden worms so I wasn't sure why he threw rejected these. That is why I did more searching.
This morning I tried feeding him again and while he eagerly lapped them up, they were extremely wiggly and he kept spitting them out. Either he's lazy or they taste bad, so I'm going to try freezing a few and feeding him tonight because he might be more eager to eat (he stopped trying to take pellets too... probably too early in the day.) Usually when I freeze worms in an empty container they excrete whatever they'd been munching, so hopefully my Lil Dude will enjoy them more once they are dead and empty. We shall see.

Seeing the posted article made me worry at first, but the article itself never actually mentions what specifically could be toxic, and he also mentions that you can control their diet to where they may not be toxic... but I wonder what exactly you would be controlling?

If anyone has any other articles or info on this I'd love to hear :)
If my baby can't eat these worms then I won't take on the project of building a worm hotel which is just too bad becase it seemed like a great setup!!



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Old 6th December 2014   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

[QUOTE=Jennewt;266277]Here is the abstract of the article I was thinking of. They tested coelomic fluid (this is presumably the liquid that leaks out when you cut them) on tadpoles.

I find this thread very interesting, as I've been feeding E. foetida to both tadpoles and salamanders, getting mixed results. I will share my experiences, and then my hypothoses. First I fed unrinsed E. foetida to my A. mavortium, who became sick and died a month later, but I also fed him Tenebrio molito, which I didn't realize, could also have killed him. Then I fed unrinsed E. foetida to A. mexicanicum, who eagerly took, but later developed long-term sickness, and refused to touch them. Next, I began letting them soak for 20 minutes in warm water before feeding them to R. ventrimaculatus tadpoles, S. algira adults and juveniles, T. marmoratus adults, N. crocatus juveniles and Cynops ensicauda adults. The S. algira adults got slightly and the T. marmoratus adults got seriously sick, and were not the least bit eager for them the 2nd time as they were the 1st. I never cut any of these worms, but gave the according to the size of the animal. I repeatedly fed the tadpoles tiny, white baby E. foetida when I was not giving daphnia or blood worms. 4 out of 6 tadpoles are now healthy froglets. The S. algira juveniles, N. crocatus juveniles took very small E. foetida which had developed coloration, and would take them meal after meal. The Cynops ensicauda adults took medium sized E. foetida repeatedly - do they perhaps have an immunity to E. foetida's coelomic fluid? Soaking in warm water first seems to remove some of the slimey excretions(perhaps making them slightly less dangerous, but I would by no means say safe). From my trial and error (this wasn't an animal experiment), it appears that E. foetida develops toxicicity with maturity. I don't know of any studies to suggest that other of the Eisenia genus such as hortensis have this toxic coelomic fluid.



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Old 11th April 2016   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

My axies will eat worms from my garden with vigor, but it is really hard to find them, it's a little early in the spring for finding them. So, I went to Petco and bought some Red Wigglers, they ate them okay, but I noticed a few hours later that they had thrown them all up. And buy the 3rd feeding they wouldn't even attempt to eat them. I threw the rest of them out, they are now eating Night crawlers, I cut them in about a half inch long, they eat them up fine and they don't throw them up. So, I am sticking with the Night Crawlers.



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Old 12th April 2016   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

T. marmoratus adults and Cynops ensicauda adults will take even the larger E. foetida with gusto, but, yeah, not A. mexicanicum. Axolotls seem to get sick from them.



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Old 13th April 2016   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Article possible toxicity of Eisenia foetida

I have had problems in the past with feeding phibs with worms kept on grass cuttings, they get a green slime in their guts, xenopus eat anything but some axolotls and newts will refuse them. I keep my worms, dendros and lobs on organic compost, feed oats with veg scraps, every thing will eat them.



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