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Latin worm names and descriptions

Posted by CCvacation none (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 1:49

Hey, worm folk! I've been doing loads of research, and about to buy worms for my empty bin. I'd like experienced worm grower's feedback on my findings, pointing out any errors to my extrapolations.

Please be kind, and here goes...

Four species to consider:

1) Eisenia fetida (popular #1 composting pick)
Common names-The Tiger worm, the Brandling worm, red worm, red wriggler
Pros- composting machine, easily available, reproduces fast
Cons- tiny, so not a good fishing worm, won't survive cold conditions well, reproduction cut in half if mixed with E. andrei, as it often is, by growers that sell to us.

2) Eisenia hortensis (popular #1 fishing pick)
Common names- European night crawler, super red worm, the Bluenose worm, Dendobaena or Dendrobaena veneta (this is believed to be its original name before some scientists changed it, but there is lots of contention around this)
Pros- easily available, great fishing worm, extras will thrive in cold climates in garden, worm is still small enough to fit through screen on composter farms
Cons- need wetter conditions then E. fetida, slower to compost and reproduce then E. fetida,

3) Eisenia andrei (#1 researchers compost pick)
common names- The Redworm, aka the red wiggler and the Brandling worm.
Pros- faster breeder and composter than E. fetida
Cons- small for fishing, hard to find, often mixed in with E. fetida but the cocoons are not viable from a mixed breeding, so that slows the reproduction rate down by half. (research at )

4) Lumbricus rubellus. (popular growers pick for outside compost piles)
common name- Litter (Red) Worm, angle worm, leaf worm, red wiggler, red worm, Marsh Worm, (European) earthworm
pros- can be cultivated inside, and is a good composter as well as upper soil burrower, is good for cold climate gardens. Great fishing worm.
Cons- they are too good at composting and surviving, called an invasive species because they have the audacity of thriving at the expense of picky plant species that can't live on composted soil. Because of this bad label, sellers don't admit to its Latin name, and Is often sold for bait anyhow.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

I learned a lot.

Yes purchase worms by Latin name.

Your level of interest I think necessitates a telephone call to the seller or multiple sellers in order to determine specifics of their worm breed specifics and how exactly they prevent worm cross contamination. Actually are there laboratories that sell worms guaranteed to be what they say they are? That may be of interest to you. Perhaps you need scientific grade worms since nobody can tell just by looking what exactly a worm is.

You may not be of the type to gather a gaggle of worms from a nearby manure pile and just go with it.

On the other hand this whole "often mixed in with E. fetida but the cocoons are not viable from a mixed breeding, so that slows the reproduction rate down by half. " might explain why my "found" worms are celibate.

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

One of the frustrating things I've found is all four above species has been called a red worm on various sites, but they are so different, and vendors don't want to confuse the consumer with scary Latin-sounding names. Yes, I've already spoke to a couple vendors, which only prompted me to do more homework because of the rather too simplistic answers.

I've lurked on some very advanced vermiculture forums, and learned about IDing worms by counting rings from the tip of tail to the... Ummm something or another... But, hey, I'm new at this, and I don't want to be asking basic questions on those forums. This forum is not very search-friendly, but its strong suit is timely interaction and kind tolerance to beginners.

I would love a worm-like dissection of the species above, adding to or refuting my comments next to them...( And I bet other newbies lurking will be watching, curious and maybe less confused)

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

"I've lurked on some very advanced vermiculture forums," If they know stuff we do not could you please borrow it and bring it here? Just the cool, exciting stuff, not the boring stuff.

"I would love a worm-like dissection of the species above," Ahhhh! That must be the difference between those other forums and us. They dissect their worms and we name ours. And give them treats. And miss them when we are away. And fall asleep thinking about them winding their way through yesterday's kitchen scraps. And obsess over their poop just as if they were a new infant. :-)

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

(chortle) I'm a bit like that with my dahlias, which is why I'm looking at providing fresh worm poop wrapped up with a bow for my special ones.

Actually, the forum I was referring to is very specialized, with lengthy discussions revolving about each species and situations. Primarily, the participants have cattle or other livestock, and worms are part of great big outdoor bins. Often there are multiple species attacking the compost at different levels, with each species focusing in one area without rubbing shoulders too much. Since I have a little tri-bin for my kitchen, I'm not exactly a perfect fit for their discussions about mega-poop management.

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Hey CC. I got a few hundred pounds of ?? red wigglers ??. I compost the manure of 1 horse and 6 chickens, garden compost, kitchen scraps and whatever else I find. I bought a "pound" to start and was given a couple gallons of bedrun from another vermicomposter. In my area composting worms show up in any compost pile built. I do not know what breed(s) I have. All of my vermicompost systems sit on the ground with no bottoms.

BTW what is the name of the forums for mega-poo management. I would like to check it out.

Good luck, Pete

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Pete, enable your email on your page, or write privately to me with your email, and I'd be happy to give you that site. I got a dire threatening warning from GardenWeb last time I 'promoted' another forum, and don't want to be banned.

I'm hoping my inside adventure might encourage my hubby and kids to want an outside worm bin, too, where many species have room to intermingle. But until there is spousal buy-in, there is no compost bin. (The kids are important in coercing the spouse to build one) His belief is the only good worm is at the bottom of a tequila bottle, or on a hook. We're working on that.


RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Who grows those worms for the bottles? Maybe some money to be made.

"where many species have room to intermingle" We have not thought that way on this forum. Maybe we should. Perhaps the vermicomposting would be betterer.

"Often there are multiple species attacking the compost at different levels, with each species focusing in one area without rubbing shoulders too much." A few times I have heard posters here talking about different worms in their bins / piles at different levels. But I can not say we have yet had a post titled "Interspecies worm selection for better vermicomposting."

"not exactly a perfect fit for their discussions about mega-poop management" :-) Hard to get respect from that crowd with just the poop of one guinea pig.

Yes it is a shame the worms everybody wants for fishing are not the best ones for kitchen composting. No fishing worm empire for me.

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Email enabled, thank you!

To encourage hubby and kids interest, you should have him build an outdoor bin Fill it with compost and stock it with Euro's (hortensis) He will never need to buy bait again, and big worms are more fun for kids.
You should start your bin with redworms (fatida) as they are the easiest... Challenge him to a competition.... Who has the best bin.... loser drinks the worm!

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

I had to enable my email twice, and you apparently are no exception, Pete! No access yet. It was the last site you listed, anyhow.

Actually, that's the conclusion I was slowly coming to, with the E. hortensis or L. rubellus outside and E. andrei or E. fatida inside, but unfortunately, I think I'll be compromising by getting him to allow worms near the kitchen as long as he can spear a few big ones on occasion. Negotiating one battle at a time = good long marriage.

Perhaps by fall I can resettle the fishing worms in an outside bin and restock my inside bin. Or, perhaps the vendor will make a mistake, and send me the wrong worms. I'll just buy a worm cup from the corner store, and dump them in every time he wants to peek in...

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions Thank you!

Layers of Latin


This is the man you need to call. This slow paced and boring yet with hints of brilliance video relates to your topic. Specifically at time marker 1:30 for two seconds and 2:52 to 3:36. OK to skip the rest. I suspect this learned gentleman (due to his own years of hands on, in the field, real life experience) knows his stuff and would enjoy a conversation with you. Clues in the video make me wonder if he is the man in the street reporter at Bentley the compost guy Christie's. If you can get a hold of his "diagram of worm location in the bag" from the video and draw it out for us. Then maybe us using only one type of worm can see the error of our ways and forge a new, worm diverse path into the vermicastings rich future. Or at least open a discussion on the topic those with tons of cow poop know about and are keeping secret from us. This is like spy stuff. We need code names. Now at least getting the scoop on someone will have real meaning.

Yes it is a .com link which technically is against the law. Ban me. I''m OK with it. My most fun thing after playing with the worms is reading good, knowledgeable, worm posters, and even banned posters get to do that. You lucky dogs you. But in the end, readers or posters, we are all generating page views for "the unseen man behind the curtain earning $ from our efforts, generosity and curiosity".

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

A truly dedicated vermicomposter would never put one of his herd on a hook. To this day, I use other baits when fishing.

Sometimes I'll buy fishing bait worms when my granddaughter & I fish for an excuse to spend some quality time being Papi & my reward for putting up with my daughter all those years.

For strictly vermicomposting use, no other worm can matchup with the red wiggler.


RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Equinox, yes, you pegged it with the times on that video. Thanks for sharing!
New species to research, too!

It seems to me that the space might be too confined for that bag to have multiple species of worms cohabitating comfortably, but it might well be the reverse, as the degree of decomposition of the compost might nullify any competition for food. I wonder how small of a space cohabitation of species would work? After all, white mites, springtails and a plethora of microbes all have their niche in a compost pile, regardless of size.

Anyone here experimented with this?

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Chuckie, you'd have a lot of rather large pets if you raised beef cattle, then!

No, I understand. Just joking... Kind of.

Do you know what species of red wriggler you have? Is it a mixed bunch, or pure E. Fetida? I've been wondering how often E. Andrei is mixed in with E. Fetida, being sold under that innocuous term 'red wriggler.' The rings (or lack of) on the breeders are the giveaway, from what I understand.

RE: Latin worm names and descriptions

Sans autopsy results, I will consider them to be pure ef's since I've never contaminated the bins with anything else.

I have, however, introduced EF's into raised beds habituated with springers and after periods of time the springers seem to become obsolete. That's not a fact, just observances.


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