Culturing earthworms

J

jesper

Guest
I've been culturing Eisenia hortensis for a year or so now and I am looking for a new species to start out with. I don't like Eisenia hortensis or Eisenia foetida due to their defense mechanisms, I'm looking for a species that do not excrete the yellow-green liquid that seems to be very badtasting. I want to culture at home too so Lumbricus terrestris is not a possibility...
Any suggestions?
 
J

jennifer

Guest
It sounds to me like you already know about the kinds of worms that are (1) known, and (2) culturable. I'm sure there are many other kinds of worms on this planet, and some might work well, but I don't know how you'd identify them or get them. And you would be embarking on unknown territory.

Here's an interesting article about various kinds of worms that are in the "known" category:
http://www.wormdigest.org/printer_181.html
 
J

jesper

Guest
Thanx Jen, exactly what I was looking for
happy.gif
. I get all my worm info through Kelly Slocum it seems, but I have missed that one.
Btw apparently they have change the Eisenia foetida spelling back to Eisenia fetida *sigh*
 
K

kaysie

Guest
Jesper, try Leaf Worms, Lumbricus rubellus. I have pretty good luck with them breeding, although I'm not actively trying to culture them. And I imagine they'd breed more at warmer temperatures. I keep them about 60F (16C) and always have little worms in the dirt.
 
E

edward

Guest
Hi Jesper,
If you can I suggest tracking down a copy of
Mason, William T.; 1994, A review of life histories and culture methods for five common species of Oligochaeta (Annelida), World Aquaculure 25(1): 67-75

It covers Tubifex tubifex, Limnodrilus hoffmeisterim Lumbriculus variegatus, Eudilus eugeniae, and Eisenis foetida. The Eudlilus eugenia may be an option for you.
You may also want to review the Breeding Food animals book I posted above.
 
J

jesper

Guest
Yeah I'm very interested in using the Lumbriculus genus as feeders since they seem to lack the defense mechanism(excretion of green-yellowish liquid) of Eisenia.
Eudrilus eugeniae and Amynthas gracilus are two other genuses that I am currently trying to find.
I am cursed with living in small country where it is very difficult to get a specific species. I'll probably end up ordering from the UK or the states. If you got any reliable sources that will ship internatonally I'd appreciate knowing about it
happy.gif


Ed, Jen tipped me off on the two latter species, do you have any info on Eudrilus eugeniae since you also mentioned it?

I'll try to track that that article, thanks.

Kaysie, I am very interested in rubellus - no problem with the fearsome excretion with those worms right?

(Message edited by Jesper on November 05, 2004)
 
K

kaysie

Guest
Jesper, my animals never refuse them. I've notice a little bit of excretion, but nothing like Eisenia hortensis.
 
E

edward

Guest
Hi Jesper,
I don't have any info other than what is in the article and the book Breeding Food animals. From what I gathered in the book, I suspect that they are not readily available on this side of the Atlantic.

Ed
 
J

jesper

Guest
Kaysie - So they do excrete the sam liquid only less? Anyway, how did you find them? I only find mixes of E.fetida and L.rubellus...

Ed - Which side of the Atlantic are we talking about? We are on different sides ya know
biggrin.gif
. I hope to find some of the more unusual worms through my university, hopefully someone is using these worms in their research...
 
K

kaysie

Guest
I buy them at the baitshop. I dont know if it's the same liquid. My axies spit out E. fetida. They refuse to eat them. But they eat leafworms with no problem.
 
J

jesper

Guest
It seems as if L.rubellus is difficult to find and often confused with both E.fetida/andreii when small and E.hortensis when adult. I'd wager you have E.hortensis, especially if they have a slight to moderate excretion of the yellow-geenish liquid.

Personally I would guess that most E.hortensis cultures have both E.hortensis and L.rubellus which would explain that sometimes you get worms that excrete and sometimes worms that don't.

I have to say that E.hortensis is a good feeder that doesn't get refused a lot, however I can see a clear distinction between the acceptance of L.terrestris and E.hortensis.

I have seen several different reports of the growth rate of these worms at different temperatures. The optimal temperatures also seem to differ very much depending on which scentist wrote the article...

Dendrobaena veneta = Eisenia hortensis:

E.hortensis growth rate article

E.fetida growth rate article

L.rubellus growth rate article

Conclusions from these articles:
E.hortensis max. reproduction rate seems to be about 2 cocoons per worm per week@25C which seems to be a more optimal temp than 15C for this species.

E.foetida have very low reproduction rates at 15 C. Their max. reproduction rate seems to be 10 cocoons per week@25C per worm.

L.rubellus had a reproduction rate of about 2 cocoons per week@15C per worm and quite suboptimal conditions.

I guess I'll have to find my microscope and get to work separating L.rubellus from E.fetida/andreii(these two can only be separated on a genetic level...) and E.hortensis.........lol
 
J

jennifer

Guest
L. terrestris can certainly be KEPT at home. But their reproduction rate is too slow to breed them as a "culture".
 
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