News‎ > ‎


Sept 2019. 
Microplastics in soil may affect worm growth. The study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to measure the effects of microplastics on endogeic worms, which live in the top soil. Anglia Ruskin University examined the impact of biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and microplastic clothing fibres (acrylic and nylon) on earthworms living in the soil as well as ryegrass sown on top. After 30 days in the presence of HDPE, which is commonly used in the production of plastic bottles and carrier bags, they found that rosy-tipped earthworms (Aporrectodea rosea) lost on average 3.1% of their weight. In comparison, the earthworms living in control conditions, without added microplastics, saw their weight increase by 5.1% over the 30-day period.

World Earthworm Map found "there are peaks of diversity and abundance in the mid-latitude regions and peaks of biomass in the tropics"
Nov '16 First we hear they are being attacked by a 'flatworm' Calamity! they're killing our beloved earthworms.  So the Mail can scream "Killer Obama worm threat to our native species' . How did it get the name 'Obama'? When I did entomological taxonomy I remember being told all sorts of naming tricks, that the early taxonomists got up to. But I cant see how anybody could have moved the name 'Obama' in , just for the occasion. 

The Press are using this example of proving - scientifically, that we need to 'control our borders'. Yet when you think the country is being overrun by an an American ex President invader (although it comes form Brazil),  the fear is turned on again. 
Yet it turns out, not to be millions, but ONE has been found in a Garden Centre. Now I agree that we should have much better control over plants and animals coming in and out. When I travelled round the Pacific we were frisked for any food, seeds plants. Like them, we are an Island nation,  and have just become more so. 
But this is clearly more than that. Those nasty flatworms make the case for pushing off to being an Island in the middle of the Atlantic.

A large worm, called Dave
A massive worm appeared in Cheshire.
The 40cm (15.7in) annelid, weighing 26g, was the size of a small snake and the largest earthworm found in the UK. Paul Rees from Widnes spotted the monster Lumbricus terrestris in his vegetable patch. His stepson George named it Dave. Why is this not a good name for a worm?
L. terrestris is an anecic worm. That is, it forms temporary deep burrows and comes to the surface to feed, as opposed to burrowing through the soil for its food as most other earthworms do. It pulls the leaves into the mouth of its burrow, leaves them to decay a bit before eating. See Attenborough video



Nematodes. Lots of different sorts in soils. Found everywhere in the moisture layers.
It is estimated that four out of every five animals on earth are nematodes. This gives an idea how significant they must be - and uyet we know very little about them. And they all look much the same - a silvery body with an opening, a gut and an exit. Some are built for feeding on roots, others on each other.