Yikes! Jumping worms found in Iowa

DUBUQUE, Iowa — An invasive species of earthworm was recently confirmed in Dubuque and Muscatine counties by Iowa State University Extension entomology and nematology specialists.

This species of earthworm, commonly known as jumping worm (Amynthas spp.), has been found in Wisconsin and Illinois, this the first time it's been confirmed in Iowa.

Jumping worms originated from East Asia and have settled in several states in the U.S.  They were confirmed in Wisconsin in 2013 and Illinois in 2015. The jumping worm is also sometimes referred to as crazy worms or Alabama jumpers.

Jumping worm is most identifiable by its vigorous wriggling and thrashing behavior when picked up or disturbed. These worms behave more like snakes than worms. Jumping worms can grow from 1.5 inches to eight inches in length. Identifiable characteristics of the jumping worm include a cloudy-white and smooth narrow band (clitellum) that surrounds the entire circumference of the body. Other earthworm species have a raised clitellum. 

The body color will be a grayish-brown. Jumping worms do not produce an exterior layer of slime, as do other common earthworms. These worms are also most likely to be found closer to the soil surface and among leaf litter. Soils where jumping worms are present will be grainy and have the texture and appearance of coffee grounds.

More information from Cornell University CLICK HERE

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