“When local gardeners turn over a spade of soil, they’re usually happy to find an earthworm or two. While these familiar worms were brought over by European settlers and are not beneficial to native habitat, they can form a healthy partnership with plants that farmers and gardeners have come to depend on.
“Now these sometimes helpful critters risk being done in by their frenetic and destructive invasive Asian cousins, Amynthas spp., called jumping worms because of their hyperactivity.
. . .
“European and Asian earthworms are both destructive to native habitats. According to Herrick, ‘From what we’ve seen in northern forests, European earthworms in high numbers devour the leaves and organic matter, which limits germination and survival of native plants and in some instances allows other invasive plants such as buckthorn and garlic mustard to readily invade. We think Asian jumping worms will have similar effects, if not faster.'”
Read the full Isthmus story about jumping worm research at the Arboretum, 10/6/16, by Denise Thornton, Doug Hansmann
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.