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Jumping worms wiggle their way into Maine

Amynthas Worm and Nightcrawler, Photo courtesy Wisconsin DNR

The Rockport Garden Club plant sale is coming up the first Saturday in may and we have requested all members to please be aware of a new invasive species recently being found in Maine, The Amynthas Worm, otherwise known as the jumping worm.

Did you know? When threatened, jumping worms thrash wildly from side to side (giving them their nicknames the ‘snake worm’ or the ‘crazy worm’). If their frenzied thrashing isn’t enough to deter a predator, they can break off segments of their tail to escape.

Introduced to North America in the late 1800s, Jumping Worms have recently begun invading natural habitats in the Northeast and Midwest, spreading primarily through horticultural trade. There is also a possibility of their introduction through sale as bait worms, however, this has not yet been documented.

These invasive worms outcompete other earthworms and their castings degrade soil quality, leaving the soil inhospitable to many native plant species and susceptible to erosion.

Jumping worms are voracious eaters, they quickly consume the top layer of organic material, making it difficult for plants to remain rooted and allowing nutrients to be washed away by rain.

David White, Advanced Master Gardener Volunteer with UNH Extension, has provided some helpful guidance for gardeners regarding Jumping Worms. Read more at:

This article is from April 26, 2022 from the Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County

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