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.

3 comments:

Alan 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 Gómez 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.

Alan 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.