Manure Worm, Compost Worm

Eisenia fetida (Savigny) (Lumbricidae)


  • Body cylindrical, 35-130 x 3-5 mm
  • Color purple, red, dark red, brownish red. There are unicolored forms and forms that have alternating bands of red-brown on dorsum with pigmentless yellow intersegmental areas.
  • Epigeic habit; detritivorous; very little soil consumed
  • Principal earthworm for composting kitchen wastes, animal manures, etc.
  • Live a maximum of 4-5 years, 1-2 more frequent
  • Reproduce sexually, up to about 900 eggs per year per worm
  • Little tendency to burrow into mineral soil


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Compost worm (Eisenia fetida) is an important organism for the reduction of urban and animal wastes. It also serves as fish bait. Photographs by Suzanne Paisley.