University of Connecticut

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S20/03 Jumping Worm Invasion Dynamics - Impacts & Efforts Towards Solutions

Monday, January 27, 2020
10:00am – 12:30pm

Middlesex County Extension Center, 1066 Saybrook Rd Haddam, CT 06438

Jumping worms, alternatively known as pheretimoid earthworms, crazy worms, snake worms and Alabama jumpers, are an emerging conservation threat to a broad suite of native taxa, habitats, industries, hobbies, and vital ecosystem services. These earthworms in the family Megascolecidae originate in Asia, while the more widespread European species are in the family Lumbricidae. Jumping worms alter the structure and chemistry of the soil dramatically, leaving a grainy soil full of worm excrement (castings), and they can damage lawns, landscapes and forest habitat. Observations of the negative effects of jumping worms has been independently noted not only by forest ecologists, but by botanical garden staff, ornamental plant breeders and citizens. Due to increasing recognition of their impact, the sale of jumping worms is restricted in New York (NYDEC 2014) and Wisconsin (WDNR 2009), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture lists them as an economically important pest and recommends eradication, quarantine regulation, containment, rejection, or other holding action (CDFA 2017). However, even if Connecticut were to adopt legislation around jumping worms, identification challenges and our lack of knowledge about their impacts and basic life history limit our ability to adhere to these regulations and implement best-practices to limit their spread. In this course, we will first discuss the impacts and invasion history of jumping worms. Next, we will provide practical, hands on training to identify jumping worms. Finally we will discuss platforms such as iMapInvasives to share jumping worm distribution data.


Gail Reynolds,

Extension (primary), College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, UConn Master Calendar

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