Glow Worms?

By John Meiklejohn

NO, not the female beetles that advertise their presence at night by emitting a bright green light from their abdomens, but real worms - earthworms.

In early January 2000 I had a phone call from Andy Storey of Pershore. He related how he was working in a garden in Crowle and decided to move a compost heap before he finished for the day. As he did so, in the dark, he was amazed to see a mass of small, twinkling, bright green lights at the bottom of the heap. On close inspection he found that the lights were coming from very small earthworms several of which he brought to me.

The worms were white, about 30 mms. long and just over 1 mm. in diameter, with about 85 segments, real miniature earthworms. By the time they had reached me they had stopped glowing!

Using keys in 'Earthworms' - Synopses of the British Fauna No.31. R.W.Sims & B.M.Gerard.

The worms are a species introduced from South America early in the last century :-
Microscolex phosphoreus (Class - Oligochaeta, Family - Acanthrodrilidae)

There are records from market gardens in Nottinghamshire, Jersey and Worcestershire.

If you are contemplating moving your compost heap, do it in the dark! I would be pleased to hear of further findings.

WBRC Home Worcs Record Listing by Issue Worcs Record Listing by Subject