“There have got to be, like, millions"
February 13, 2020 10:05 PM   Subscribe

 
For that matter, in most of North America, our familiar earthworms are geologically recent invasive species from Europe (through dirt as ballast in sailing ships, and horticultural trade), and as they spread they have disfavored some species and decreased diversity. Please don't transport soil or bait earthworms into places far where they came from, y'all.

So, it's not just the Asians who are new here, it's the Europeans. In the worm department I mean.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:37 PM on February 13 [4 favorites]


(The most recent glaciation scoured large areas of North America clean of any soil, down to bedrock, but apparently this did not occur in the Pacific Northwest, where we are still blessed by the Oregon giant earthworm and giant Palouse earthworm -- even if their capabilities to spit defensively and to smell of lilies are now being doubted.)
posted by away for regrooving at 10:45 PM on February 13 [10 favorites]


I'm wondering if ground-feeding birds may end up helping to control the worms. A bunch of worms that live very shallowly and turn the soil into loose coffee grounds sounds like heaven for birds that like to scratch up bugs.
posted by tavella at 12:38 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Am I the only one that's seen Tremors?!?!?
posted by fairmettle at 2:55 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


tavella I hope you are right, birds need all the help they can get
posted by NervousVarun at 3:10 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering if ground-feeding birds may end up helping to control the worms.

Mutter mutter too bad all the birds are dying off mutter need coffee mutter fatalistic something
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:53 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Known as Asian jumping worms

Note that the first article just calls them jumping worms- the geographic identifier is unnecessary.
posted by zamboni at 5:27 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Has anyone tried blasting really loud, ultra obnoxious music to drive them deeper underground? Only half kidding, but maybe some kind of irritant might shape their burrowing depth?

Disclaimer: I'm not a wormologist and I just woke up. But I'm easily amused and picturing empty fields and pastures with, say, Celine Dion, crashing through the silence, followed by a vast, vertical wriggling retreat, tickles my humor.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 5:34 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one that's seen Tremors?!?!?

When I think of invasive, destructive worms, sorry, gotta go with The Sheep Look Up. It’s downright terrifying how much of what a runner wrote has happened or is happening.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:48 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


The day after our meeting, she heads up north to talk to a group of loggers about the risks of invasive worms and what they can do to stop them. She recommends using a broom to knock soil off trucks and tires. She’s under no illusion that this will solve the problem, but “you’ll slow them down,” she says.

Ah geez, I have a hard time imagining any loggers taking the time to get a broom and use it to knock dirt off their tires. I've learned a lot about worms today, they are now on my shit list. Doom via worm feels fitting these days.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:16 AM on February 14


Am I the only one that's seen Squirm.

Yeah, I probably am...
posted by humboldt32 at 8:53 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one that's seen Slither?
posted by Billiken at 9:03 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Nope, I've seen both!
posted by Gamecat at 9:47 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Oh, good. Some unexpected consequence of human activity that will destroy us all. Throw it on the pile, I guess.
posted by Grangousier at 9:50 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Given my difficulties in explaining why honeybees, an invasive agricultural species introduced into the Americas only very, very recently, don't belong here (ironic, too, since I keep bees, off and on and enjoy their company) and should not be lamented, I can only imagine the eye-rolling that would result from taking up this cause. It's so strange how folks, particularly in the US, seem to think every animal that's familiar is necessarily part of the environment.
posted by sonascope at 12:15 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I could have sworn there were some species of pollinating bees that have been in North America longer than humans have, just not the kind you'd keep to harvest honey.
posted by wierdo at 12:29 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


There are, but we’re screwing that up too. See my previous comment about the state of native bees.
posted by zamboni at 1:12 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Disclaimer: I'm not a wormologist

Dude, 'wormologist' is not the preferred nomenclature. Vermicologist, please.
posted by verstegan at 3:08 PM on February 14


Ah, thanks for the clarification, zamboni. I'd like to think that there remains a sufficient amount of mostly undisturbed land to sustain a reservoir of some native bee populations, but I'm probably being overly optimistic, what with invasive species, changes in natural range due to climate change, and other stressors.
posted by wierdo at 3:23 PM on February 14


As the old joke goes:
What’s the difference between a wormologist and a vermicologist?
Fifty dollars a week!
Rim shot, please
posted by ejs at 3:41 PM on February 15


Am I the only one that's seen Slither?

One of the top ten most underrated worm movies of the new millennium.
posted by fairmettle at 4:38 AM on February 16


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