There are an endless variety of worm species you can use in Vermicomposting, But not all built equally. The most common species of worms typically used are Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida which is actually a tiger worm, or simply ‘red tigers’ and not of the rubellus family), Redworms (Lumbricus rubellus, related to the lumbricus Terrestris), Pot worms (Enchytraiedae) for that lower pH goodness.
Don’t get too caught up in the terminology though, it just seems scary.
Red Tigers (often confused with other species)
The problem with worms is that if you don’t know what to look for, it can get hard to figure out exactly what species it is. Thats why these worms are often confused with several types of rubellus species, but actually they are an Eisenia Fetida, or more commonly known as the redworm, brandling worm, trout worm, tiger worm and RED TIGER.
Another subspecies, Eisenia andrei, are nearly identical to each other and is the true Red tiger, however, both species are so identical, they can breed with each other without issue.
Originally native to Europe, just like every other invasive worm it quickly spread to every patch of none-frozen dirt on the planet. They are particularly well suited for rotting vegetation such as grass clippings, leaf mulch, as well as various manures.
It’s been noted that these have a bit of a foul smell to them. Interestingly that’s how their name translates, Foetida = Foul Smelling. These worms have a life span an average of 3 years but can reach as far as 5.
Redworms (The True Redworm Lumbricus rubellus)
Also known as the true redworm, the marsh worm, the dung worm. Like other invasive species, it’s basically everywhere now, although originally hailing from the British isles. This is the most common vermicomposting worms used today as it’s able to handle large amounts of manure coupled with the fact that it will work the earth, Unlike the Red Tiger.
This worm does eat various organic matter but prefers rotting feces as its choice habitat. Too each their own I say.
pH should be 5.5 to 8.7 to keep these guys happy and alive. You may find overlap here with many species other than the pot worm. It like a cool 10.6 C° (51 F°) and a decent amount of moisture.
Pot worms (Enchytraiedae)
The long string like, slightly transparent white worm. It’s not the prettiest looking worm that’s for sure, But it most likely already exists in your compost or garden and you don’t notice it. These guy’s like a low pH, too low for most other worm species to tolerate. They tend to live in smaller pockets of lower pH soil, unless your soil suddenly drops in pH which can cause an explosion in the population. That’s usually when people notice them the most.
Some subspecies are also marine, up to the point where if your soils super saturated, these guy’s might show up to chill. Speaking of chill, other subspecies of Pot worms are also called “ice worms”. That’s because they even live inside glaciers. Crazy.
Either way, these worms do their job, they turn the soil and eat the organic matter. They aren’t particularly good at any one job, though. Mostly used as a sign your pH has fallen too low. You can read more about them here
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