Jumping Worms That Have Potential to Wreak Havoc on Plants and Wildlife Spotted in Over 30 States
These earthworms, most commonly known as jumping worms, have the potential to cause damage to plants, forests and wildlife.
The species of earthworm known as jumping worms have recently been seen in Connecticut.
These worms, known for their milky-colored neckbands and erratic movement, have several nicknames, including crazy worms, crazy snake worms, Georgia or Alabama jumpers, Jersey wigglers, wood alves and sharks of the earth, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).
These earthworms, most commonly known as jumping worms, have the potential to cause damage to plants, forests and wildlife, according to Science News.
According to the CAES, the worms pose a threat to the soil animal communities, having the potential to negatively impact millipedes, salamanders and ground-nesting birds.
Jumping worms can increase greenhouse emissions from the soil by 50%, threatening the extinction of local plants, according to the organization.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the worms do not actually jump, but get their name from the way they whip their bodies when disturbed.
In addition their ability to climb, they can destabilize the soil and make it harder for some plants to grow, Gale Ridge, a member of the entomology department at the CAES, told Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
The worms can also accumulate toxic metals like mercury and lead. Because the worms are often used as bait, these toxic materials can then be eaten by fish, birds and other animals.
"These are earthworms on steroids," Ridge said to the news group.
According to NBC Connecticut, the worms were originally brought from Japan in the 1940s to feed platypuses at the Bronx Zoo, and have now been seen in over 30 states.
The department of resources says in addition to their use as bait, the earthworms are mainly spread mostly through the transport of mulch, compost and potted plants.
In addition to not buying worms on the internet, Ridge advised not buying compost or mulch unless the seller can prove it has been heat-treated from 105 degrees to 131 degrees for at least three days.
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