T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Worms (Tiger) Eisenia fetida

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Clitellata
Order: Haplotaxida
Family: Lumbricidae
Genus: Eisenia
Species: E. foetida
Binomial name: Eisenia fetida
Synonym: Eisenia foetida
Common names: Tiger worm, Redworm, Brandling worm, Panfish worm, Trout worm, Red wiggler worm, Dung worm,
nure worm, Stink worm.

Eisenia fetida is a species of earthworm adapted to decaying organic material. They are native to Europe, but have been introduced to every other continent except Antarctica.
These worms thrive in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. They are epigean. Epigeic worms live on the surface of the soil or in the top 20 cm or so under the litter layer.
Eisenia fetida worms are used for vermicomposting and are the most common worms in compost bins. They can eat their body weight in food each day.
Eisenia fetida obtains a length of 35-130mm and have a diameter of 3-5mm. The body can have 80-120 alternating red and yellow segments. There are groups of bristles (called setae) on each segment that move in and out to grip nearby surfaces as the worms stretch and contract their muscles to push themselves forward or backward.
Like other worms they are hermaphroditic. However, two worms are still required for reproduction. The two worms join clitella, they are the large lighter coloured bands and contain the worms reproductive organs, they are only prominent during the reproduction process. The two worms exchange sperm. Both worms then secrete emon-shaped cocoons which contain several eggs each. These cocoons are pale yellow at first, becoming more brownish as the worms inside become mature. The average incubation period is between 32 and 73 days. The newly hatched worms become mature and breed after 8 to 10 weeks. Worms can lay two to three cocoons per week for 6 months to a year.




Compost worms at work.