Red Worm Information

Overview

Red worms are the species of choice for indoor and outdoor vermicomposting. Unlike the burrowing earthworms found in most suburban lawns, red worms are surface dwellers. Red worms (Eisenia fetida) are available from specialty mail-order supply houses.

Respiration

Red worms do not have lungs. As water evaporates on the surface of their bodies, oxygen dissolves and is absorbed. Without sufficient moisture, red worms will die.

For Purchase

Red worms are sold by the pound. A pound of red worms contains between 800 and 1,200 worms.

Reproduction

Red worms live two to five years and begin to reproduce at two to three months of age. Adults lay one to three egg capsules per week. Egg capsules produce two to twelve new worms.

Favorite Foods

Red worms will eat about half their weight in food each day. They eat vegetative matter, eggshells and coffee grounds.

Digestion

Lacking teeth, worms rely on soil enzymes, fungi and a muscular gizzard to break down food. Minute particles of sand and minerals accumulate in the gizzard. Muscular contractions grind material into digestible bits.

References

  • Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • RedWormComposing.com
  • Carol's Earthwares: Redworm Facts
Keywords: red worm, redworms, vermicomposting

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.