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Why earthworms?

This is a discussion on Why earthworms? within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Originally Posted by Azhael Could you elaborate a bit on this (in another thread if you see it fit)? I ...

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Old 25th January 2012   #21 (permalink)
Ed
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azhael View Post
Could you elaborate a bit on this (in another thread if you see it fit)? I admit to adhering to the dogma of plant matter being pretty much worthless for caudates and if this is wrong i´d love to learn more.
The latest thing i had heard of that made me doubt the dogma was about plant matter contents in feeder invertebrates and how those represented a valuable nutrition source in the pressence of the invertebrate´s digestive flora.

Sorry for taking up your time.
Here you go

Well we can start with the whole feeder insects must be better when fed on greens etc… There is actually data that disputes this.. There have been several studies, on this exact topic and we can see the first of them discussed in Dierenfeld, Ellen S.; Norkus, Edward B.; Carroll, Kathryn; Ferguson, Gary W.; Carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin E concentrations during egg development in panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis); ZooBiology 21: 295-303. In that article, there is a brief discussion (and further citations) on how “ gut loading with a low levels of preformed vitamin A and high carotenoid (carrots) has resulted in vitamin A deficiency in panther chameleons”. There was also an interesting study done on crickets where they were divided into several groups and then fed different diets. The groups were divided as follows, Group A was only given water ad libitum, Group B was fed only lettuce (Lactuaca sativa), and Group C was fed a commercial cricket chow. (see Hatt, Jean-Michel; Hung, Elisabeth; Wanner, Marcel; 2003; The influence of diet on the body composition of the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and consequences for their use in zoo animal nutrition; Zool. Garten N.F. 73(4): 238-244.) For vitamin A content, the activity level was what was measured (which means carotenoids that can be converted to vitamin A as well as vitamin A). There were some interesting results to the study.. the crickets fed only water had 73% of the vitamin A that the crickets fed lettuce did.. while the crickets fed lettuce had only 82% of the vitamin A that the crickets fed on the commercial diet (these are not based on the average or there would be a much greater disparity between lettuce and commercial diet but on the final numbers). Outside of plant feeding caterpillars, there is little to indicate that this is different for many other taxa of invertebrates. The only real differences we see are with crustaceans like krill where they contain a vitamin A level of 23.3 µg/g dry matter (compared to crickets (0.03 µg/g dry matter basis).. (see Pennino, Marianne; Dierenfeld, Ellen S.; Behler, John L.; 1991; Retinol, α-tocopherol and proximate nutrient composition of invertebrates used as feed; Int. Zoo Yb. 30: 143-149).
We can move onto the next section… Vitamin A deficiency hasn’t been documented in amphibians found in the wild at this time, yet we know that many feeder invertebrates are a poor source for not only preformed vitamin A, but carotenoids with previtamin A activity (with the exception of plant feeding caterpillars and a few other exceptions). This seems to create a conflict of what we know. So we now need to look at other potential sources of vitamin A particularly since the majority of amphibians are not consuming sufficient levels of vertebrates to meet their vitamin A needs. One potential source occurs when the amphibians capture their prey. In general when the strike to capture prey occurs, we see that routinely that other items are ingested along with the prey items. If we look at the older literature we can find reports of percent plant matter in the digestive tract while more modern studies on gut contents lump plant matter together with other matter like soil particles as one category giving little data on the prevalence in the diet. However as time goes on, we see more and more exceptions to the idea that with the exception of many tadpoles, amphibians are obligate carnivores. For example seasonally adult Rana hexadactyla can have as much as 80% of their diet consist of plant matter (see Das, I.; 1996; Folivory and seasonal changes in the diet in Rana hexadactyla (Anura: Ranidae); J. Zool., Lond. 238:785-794). Plant consumption has been reported as well for greater sirens, marine toads, and most famously Hyla truncata. So with the possible exception of greater sirens which appear to be hind gut fermenters, how do these animals with short digestive tracts get sufficient nutrition from plants? One potential method is that as with some other taxa commensual bacteria or protozoa, this is seen in some surprising taxa (such as rats and pigs). An alternative possibility is as with other taxa, pinworns (oxyurids) are enabling the animal to digest the plant matter. It is well known that in a number of taxa (such as chelonians,and bullfrog tadpoles (see http://accstr.ufl.edu/publications/P...al_JEZ2005.pdf)), pinworms breakdown the walls of the plant matter allowing better digestion and uptake. Various genera of pinworms are found in virtually all species and while the taxa that aids in digestion in bullfrog tadpoles isn’t commonly found in caudates, other genera of oxyurids are.
Some comments,
Ed



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Old 25th January 2012   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Thank you, Ed, much apreciated :)



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Old 25th January 2012   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

I understand that earthworms are a great source of nutrition for the axolotls, but what are the opinions reguarding red worms? I don't have earthworms on hand, but I have plenty of redworms :)



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Old 12th February 2012   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

I don't actually beleive that the vitamins you buy have the levels they claim. They can't even make human vitamins and meds witout needing repeated recalls. I can only imagine how much and how often reptile vits are screwed up. I would much rather go a all natural route.



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Old 17th April 2012   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

i agree with the all natural route, partly because you have to research every little concentrated chem/supplement you give your invert feeders to make sure they are useful and won't be problematic in some way. side note, is there anything wrong with using primarily bloodworm cubes and earth worms as a staple and an occasional dubia roach nymph? i feed my roaches primarily oranges and oatmeal. i want to start my own culture of earth worms any food ideas? i was going to use leaf litter and maybe an occasional potato or fruit



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Old 28th April 2012   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

this has been a pretty interesting thread, but I have a related question: are there any risks associated with worm feeding? I'm looking at some baitshop worms I picked up recently, is there a risk of bacteria or parasites?



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Old 24th June 2012   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

axies eat
earthworms
mealworms
silkworms (healthiest aparently)
maggots
frozen bloodworms
frozen brine shrimp
axolotl pellets
gold fish
guppies


they also eat snails without the shell and slugs but from what veternarians have told me you should only feed these to axies if absolutely desperate as there slime aparently tastes disgusting and there slime is toxic also they carry terrible parasites like the cantonese blood worm which eats human brains



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Old 3rd July 2012   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

The Baitshop is far closer to me than the petshop, are earthworms from a baitshop still safe for axolotls? Dakkagor asked above, I couldn't see an answer :)



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Old 3rd July 2012   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

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Originally Posted by Etrigan View Post
The Baitshop is far closer to me than the petshop, are earthworms from a baitshop still safe for axolotls? Dakkagor asked above, I couldn't see an answer :)
I asked the guy at my local tackle shop if chemicals had been used with their soil and such and he said no. Whether he was telling the truth or not is a different story haha. That's the only place I've found them and I still have plenty of worms that I feed and keep moist (I've had them for well over a month now). I just wash them thoroughly in water prior to feeding and my axies love them, there have been no bad side effects so far. You may just have to double check with them & stress that they will be used as food for your pet and hopefully they don't lie to you just to get a sale!



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Old 14th July 2012   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

I handfeed my axolotls cooked, shelled and frozen prawns from the supermarket and earthworms, alternating them for each feed. The axies love the prawns and they are cheap. My reasoning is that they probably eat small crustaceans in their natural habitat. anyone know of any problem with this?



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Old 14th July 2012   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Yes, the prawns you are feeding are salt water species. The concentrations of salts and other elements/compounds are inapropriate for your fresh water axolotl.
Fresh water crustaceans are an excellent addition to a varied diet, but salt water species are not.



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Old 12th August 2012   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Where is the best place to get feeder earthworms?

I've seen posts saying they got them from their garden, bait shops, or from their own cultures.. (speaking of, is there a thread that details earthworm cultures?)

I'm just curious if anyone has a good suggestion on where to get them for when I get my own axies :)



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Old 12th August 2012   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

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Originally Posted by Xeraki View Post
Where is the best place to get feeder earthworms?

I've seen posts saying they got them from their garden, bait shops, or from their own cultures.. (speaking of, is there a thread that details earthworm cultures?)

I'm just curious if anyone has a good suggestion on where to get them for when I get my own axies :)
I get a tub of 50 from the local bait shop and apparently the local hardware shop sells them in a worm farm kit but I've never bothered to look. I'd rather pay the $5 for 50 and build up my own farm where I have used a small critter container with a ventilated lid as opposed to digging for my own in the backyard every time it comes to feeding.

Cheap and Easy Worm Bin!. This website gives you a walkthrough on how to make your own farm, hope it helps



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Old 11th September 2012   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Can you feed your axels other types of worms instead like meal worms or super worms?



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Old 12th September 2012   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

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Originally Posted by Thomomom View Post
Can you feed your axels other types of worms instead like meal worms or super worms?
You can use them, but they are not nearly as good, for the following reasons: (1) high in fat, (2) low content of calcium, (3) hard chitinous outer shell. I would not recommend them as a frequent part of the diet.



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Old 16th September 2012   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Alot of interesting info in this post.
Just to add my bit I have kept and bred Axolotls for 10+years and almost allways feed them on live wild caught food even the adults.
I live on a farm and have heaps of dams/ponds and small river to get all my food from.
I feed usually about once a week and go to the river/pond(I cycle where I get them from so I dont empty one dam) with a bucket and catch heaps of different water bugs. Everything from daphnia,gammurus,water boatmen,backswimmers,water beetles,sheild shrimp,tadpoles,water snails,pond skimmers,dragon/damsel fly larvae and so on. What I catch varies on the season and where I get it from. I think this diet is as close to what a wild Axolotl will get and they seem to love it.There are a number of pros and cons for this though:

Pros: Easy to get large amounts of food for heaps of Axies
Can grade the food for size so you can feed adults right through to week olds from the same catch
Huge variety of food and get to see heaps of cool insect life and weird lil creatures
Uneaten food stays in tanks so Axolotls can eat when the want
Is good if you want to go away,just fill tank with food and leave the Axolotls do their thing

Cons: Not everyone has a farm and pond nearby.
Risks of introducing pests/illness/diesease(only problems ive had are with hydra)
Seasonal,in winter it is hard I often resort to suplementing this with earthworms
Can be messy

I hope this is of help to someone haha
Any questions feel free to ask
Thanks



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Old 21st October 2012   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

I'm digging up the plain brown earthworms at the moment but in the winter that is going to be more difficult - this picture shows what sort of worms I have in the compost bin, are they the ones that are not so good?
Click the image to open in full size. and I found this! Huge earthworm specimen found | Doubtful News would feed my axies for a long time!



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Old 27th November 2012   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

Hey there, while your on the subject of earth worms. I have bought my Lottlia (axolotl) some earth worms for the first time, she's 3 and a half inches long.. What do I do with the earthworms? I assume I rinse them as there in a pot of soil? But do I cut them up? Or leave them whole alive?


Thanks



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Old 27th November 2012   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why earthworms?

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Originally Posted by Elmlee View Post
Hey there, while your on the subject of earth worms. I have bought my Lottlia (axolotl) some earth worms for the first time, she's 3 and a half inches long.. What do I do with the earthworms? I assume I rinse them as there in a pot of soil? But do I cut them up? Or leave them whole alive?


Thanks
I just rinse mine in cold dechlorinated water An axolotl of that size might not be able to handle the size and/or movement of a whole earthworm so chopping is the best way to go. I've never had any problems with this method and I have a whole lot of mouths to feed!



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Old 27th November 2012   #40 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: Why earthworms?

thank you so much Hun, for the reply.. I forgot to ask at the shop and wanted to try her with one.. Would you say one would be enough?



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