What do hungry red worms look like?

JamesMarconnet(7)November 10, 2011

I looked at my red worms today, and I noticed that several are the typical red worm diameter ahead of that sexual thingie that goes clear around them, but then they are noticeably skinnyier from there clear back to the end of their tail. I wondered if this might be a sign of hungry worms, upset tummy, sleeping partially inside currogated cardboard, or something else?

I saw somewhere else photos where the worms seem to have multiple bands around them, like constrictions. But mine are nothing like that, just skinnyier over the rear half or the worms.



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Never heard of SWS Skinny Worm Syndrome before. Maybe more moisture will plump them back up. Or write about what they have been eating and you have the basis for the next best selling diet book.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 9:40AM
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yolos - z 7b/8a Ga.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 3:02PM
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I think sometimes when worms are stretching, especially if they're moving, one of their ends will get really skinny/pointy. Today I saw one stretch up off the dirt about an inch in the air and in doing so the upper half of it got really, really skinny and pointy and it's tip fluttered in the air for a loooooong minute...kinda like a little trained cobra...but without the hood. Actually, as it stood there, wavering in the air, I wondered if it was going to take off or something, and it really kinda freaked me out. I'd never seen a worm get so protracted/airborne before. Man, it still kinda gives me the willies.

But I digress. Once the worm settled back down and decided to dig in the dirt, it resumed its "normal" form, which was getting skinnier and then fatter in subsequent sections as it found its way through a narrow opening. I think worms are kinda like cats and can adjust their bulk to get into tight places. Signs of worms not getting enough to eat would be a sudden absence of worms or cocoons. If you can still see their skinny selves wriggling around, being responsive to light and touch, making lots of cocoons and consuming food at a reasonable rate, I wouldn't worry.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:59PM
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I inventoried my two bins of worms yesterday. I did not notice any of the skinny lower-half worms that I noticed earlier. I moved them to similar bins of new bedding. I'll keep the old bins of mixed bedding, food, and castings around to see how many worms, if any, hatch out there. Then harvest and use the VC.

I counted 16 Canada Nightcrawlers. I started out with 18 count, which I counted as 19, with one rather tiny one. I found no coccoons, so I'm discontinuing my attempts to grow nightcrawlers in captivity indoors.

I found a widely-quoted quote: Anecic species, represented by the common nightcrawler (Lumbricus terrestris),
construct permanent vertical burrows as deep as 4 to 6 feet in the soil. They feed on organic debris on the soil surface and convert it into humus. If anecic species are
deprived of their permanent homes, they will discontinue breeding and cease to grow.

In a shallow indoor bin, mine ate and grew some, but the part about discontinuing breeding seemed to be true in my experience.

I counted 67 red worms, including about 10 of they tinyest, cutest, baby ones that must have recently come out of coccoons, 4 of which I found. Tiny and yellow. Now that I've found one (4), it should be much easier for me to find more of them in the future. I did not find any empty coccoons. Perhaps the worms ate them?

Jim Marconnet

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 8:00AM
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Recently I moved my night crawlers and red worms into new plastic bins with all new bedding. I kept the old bins of bedding to see if some coccoons in there will hatch. I've seen 4 red worm coccoons, so I know there are some in there. I've not found any coccoons in the night crawlers' bin.

Tonight when I opened the new bins to feed them for the first time, the red worms were like normal. Randomly distributed under the new bedding. All seemed well.

The night crawlers, however were like I had never seen them before. They were in two groups, lieing in straight lines, along two sides of the new bin. Between the bedding and the wall of the bin. I asked my wife to come in and tell me what they were doing. She said, "They are practicing for an upcoming Jamaica vacation." That's an inside joke, but I'll bet you can guess what she and I thought they were doing!

It will be interesting to see if some night crawler coccoons appear, and whether the worms survive or die.

No more skinny red worms have been observed.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:42PM
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Worm porn :P.

Yep, hatched cocoons seem to vanish pretty quick.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 12:58AM
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