Friday 10 January 2014

A rainbow worm

After a long overwintering period with little activity, BugBlog comes to life thanks to these active earthworms. Using my shoe as a measuring device (cropped out of the photo) and back at home I estimated that is was over 11 cm long. There were several of these worms crossing the path on a wooded patch on the university grounds, under the rain. I usually shy away from identifying worms, but the striking colour of the clitellum - the orange band towards the front of the worms called my attention. I used the Opal Identification guide Their colour, large size and yellow tail tip narrowed down to Blue-grey worm (Octolasion cyaneum), although I think rainbow worm would be more appropriate. The species is found on the topsoil on a range of habitats. This worm had some visible injuries - possibly caused by failed predation attempts by Blackbirds or Carrion Crows.

More information
Earthworm guide. Opal. here.


AJ Cann said...

In the Netherlands (and possibly elsewhere), these worms are referred to as "rain worms". Several times this week I have amused myself by performing a rain worm census when walking the tarmac path across the park to the university after a rainy night. Record score so far: 37.

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you for your comment Alan. It sounds fun to do a rain worm census. I bet the kids love it on the way to school on a rainy day.

AJ Cann said...

It's interesting that you always seem top see them in the same places. I'm not sure if it's a question of which surfaces they prefer, or (probably) population in surrounding soil.