Jumping Worms: The Creepy, Damaging Invasive You Don’t Know

The invasive

The invasive "jumping worm" (genus Amynthas).

“Disturb a jumping worm and it’s like a nightcrawler on steroids: It violently writhes on the forest floor, recalling a snake in a bad horror movie. Try to catch it, a piece of its tail will detach in your hand — still wriggling as you hold it.

“But put aside the creepy factor: jumping worms may be the next big threat to northern forests.

“Jumping worms, consisting of various non-native species from multiple genera, have become established in a number of eastern and southeastern states. In 2013, species from the genus Amynthas were confirmed for the first time in the Upper Midwest, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum.”

Read the full Cool Green Science story about jumping worms by Matt Miller, October 31, 2016.

The invasive Amynthas worms were first confirmed at the Arboretum in 2013. The worms are originally from temperate regions of Asia. They have since been found around Dane County and elsewhere in Wisconsin. Since the 2014 growing season the Arboretum has been facilitating research, public outreach, and education. Contact Brad Herrick, Arboretum ecologist, with questions about the jumping worms.