Species used in vermiculture

Annelid worms are currently about 20,000 species, many of which are susceptible to cultivation. Among the sea earthworms, we must mention the Nereids, worms used as fishing bait and even for human consumption.

Mass of small newly hatched worms.

Earthworms arouse more interest due to their importance as soil stabilizers and biofertilizer production. Of the more than 4,000 species of worms that live in freshwaters and ground, about fifty are cultivated or are in the process of being investigated to be transferred to private companies. The best known family for these matters is that of the Lumbricids, although other nearby groups also bring significant environmental benefits.

Cocoons, in one of them (top left) it can be seen two early embryos.

Earthworms in its cultivation ecosystem. On the right, a prickly pear pad that provides moisture and nutrients.

Obviously, commercial species meet the requirements of all biological separation for mass rearing:
  • Short life cycle.
  • High reproductive tax.
  • High environmental tolerance.
  • High adaptability to overcrowding.
  • High disease resistance.
And as qualities to value: ease of handling and transport; high energy conversion; no detrimental to environment and other organisms, including human populations.
Of the main species, in addition to Eisenia fetida, one can mention Eisenia andrei (once considered a subspecies of the previous one); Eisenia hortensis, equally similar to the red Californian; Lumbricus terrestris, mistakenly called the Canadian worm, since it has an Eurasian distribution (such as the Californian earthworm), and on the other hand, being the best known species from the scientific point of view; Lumbricus rubellus, used in the east as medicinal. In the Macroscelidea family, there is Peryonix excavatus, the red Himalayan earthworm, used in tropical areas for composting. And to mention an African species, also imported to Palearctic regions, we find Eudrilus eugeniae, large, but very stenoic with environmental conditions.


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