Earthworm report summary

Earthworm report summary

The earthworms in Jersey had never been systematically studied until the winter of 2016/17 when the Earthworm Society of Britain was invited to Jersey to train volunteers in the collection and identification of earthworms.  This project was funded by the Jersey Biodiversity Centre and the States of Jersey Eco-active fund.  The project involved an initial survey on the island to make a start at identifying the local fauna, training workshops for the local recorders and preparation of a reference collection so volunteers could access this to aid in future identifications.  The only known records for Jersey prior to this visit were 4 jars of specimens housed in the Natural History Museum London collections.

Two sampling trips were undertaken. The first main sampling visit was from 7-8 December 2016 involving 14 people and visiting 10 sites.  The second visit was from 10-11 February 2017 and visited 6 sites.  Standard sampling methods were carried out to capture as many of the species present as possible.  These methods include:
•Digging 5 soil pits per site (20cm x 20cm x 10cm). Soil pits are dug and the block of soil removed placed on a large tray.  The soil is carefully hand sorted and any earthworms present extracted and examined.
•  Use of a vermifuge (Colmans mustard powder suspended in 1.5 litres of water).  The vermifuge is poured over the ground in approximately a metre squared area.  This area is then observed over a 5 minute period and any worms that fully emerge are washed with water and examined.
• Microhabitat searches.  Searching in and under logs, under leaf litter, under dung, under stones, in tree hollows etc.

From all the above methods juveniles taken were released and the adults preserved for accurate identification in the lab.

After this sampling the Earthworm species list for Jersey now consists of 18 species, all of these species are also found within Britain.
Allolobophora chlorotica (Savigny, 1826)

Apporectodea caliginosa (Savigny, 1826)

Apporectodea icterica (Savigny, 1826)

Apporectodea limicola (Michaelson, 1890)

Apporectodea longa (Ude, 1885)

Apporectodea rosea (Savigny, 1826)

Bimastos eiseni (Levinsen, 1884)

Bimastos rubidus (Savigny, 1826)

Dendrobaena attemsi (Michaelson, 1902)

Dendrobaena octaedra (Savigny, 1826)

Eisenia fetida (Savigny, 1826)

Eiseniella tetraedra (Savigny, 1826)

Lumbricus castaneus (Savigny, 1826)

Lumbricus festivus (Savigny, 1826)

Lumbricus rubellus (Hoffmeister, 1845)

Lumbricus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Octolasion cyaneum (Savigny, 1826)

Octolasion lacteum (Orley, 1881)


It is likely that the island of Jersey will contain all 29 of the British Species and there is still a good probability that there may be a limited number of species which occur in France but not the mainland UK.  Further sampling will be required to obtain a fuller picture of the earthworm population of Jersey

We would like to thank the Natural History Museum for supporting the centre in this research and coming over to complete the surveys.


people surveying worms
people surveying worm in soil