Snake Worms Infecting the US Soil Swiftly


Snake Worms Infecting the US Soil Swiftly

Highly invasive “Snake worm” of genus Amynthas have different names like they are called Asian jumping worms, Alabama jumpers, and most famously, crazy worms. Pick it up and you’ll know why, as they wriggle-jiggle and springs out of your hand, sometimes leaving behind its tail as a dingy memento. These worms first entered North America in the 19th century, stashed away on a ship carrying dirt and plants now they are widespread across 15 different states in the U.S. including Texas, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and many more as reported by Brandon Specktor in LiveScience.

Although they look like an earthworm in external morphology they have a poor reputation in comparison. They may be small and brownish like an earthworm, but they differ greatly in other features. For example; adult snake worm doesn’t need mates to reproduce and they multiply quicker than other worms by laying soil colored eggs. Right after hatching, the worms consume the topsoil nutrients, leaving behind a grainy mess that bears a resemblance to coffee grounds. That nutrient-depleted soil starts eroding quickly, leaving behind little to no sustenance for native competing flora and fauna disclosed Brad Herrick, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin. He continued to say that the snake worms are different from the other worms in a way that it only changes the nutrient dynamics or soil structure, but it also displaces other species of native earthworm, putting them at risk.

Their mode of propagation across the U.S. is yet to be fully understood, but many scientists believe that they are spreading across states via imported plants, truck tires, sailing down waterways, and even by attaching to landscaping equipment. The cocoons of snake worms are very resilient in water and can travel long distances.

The long-term detrimental effects of these aggressively spreading crazy worms on North America’s forests is yet to be fully investigated, but for now, it is crystal clear that they aren’t good for the soil or the local worms (already inhibiting that soil). The is no one effective way to control their propagation in the land but there are certain guidelines on what to do if you spot them in the garden, which include putting the adult worms in the bag and leaving them in the sun for 10 minutes or so, then throwing them away.


Crazy worm, Asian jumping worms, Alabama jumpers.