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Eisenia fetida   (Savigny, 1826)
Family: Lumbricidae     Genus: Eisenia
Synonyms: Enterion fetidum Savigny, 1826: 182.
Lumbricus foetidus: Duges 1837
Allolobophora foetida: Eisen 1874; Benham 1899
Lumbricus annulatus Hutton, 1877: 352.
Helodrilus (Eisenia) foetidus: Michaelsen 1910
... more synonyms
Short description
External characteristics
Length: 50-120mm. Diameter: 2-4mm. 80-120 segments. Pigmentation: violet-red and striped with antero-posterior and dorso-ventral gradient. Clitellum dark red-orange. Body shape: cylindrical. Setae disposition: closely paired. Prostomium type: epilobous. Dorsal pores: small, the first in (3/4) 4/5. Mucus: coloured with a foul odor. Nephridial pores: alternate between setal lines ab and cd. Male pore: punctiforme in 1/2 15, in ab. Female pore: well developed, punctiforme in 1/2 14, in ab. Spermathecal pores: open in 9/10-10/11, in cd. Clitellum: saddle-shaped in (25) 26-32 (33). Tubercula pubertatis: distinct bands on (27) 28-30 (31).
Internal characteristics
First septum in 4/5. Moniliforme hearts in 7-11. Nephridia tubular. Excretory system holonephridial, nephridial bladders tubular shaped. Calciferous glands in 10-13 (14) without diverticula with bulging in 12. Crop in 15-16. Gizzard in 17-18. Typhlosole beginning gradually around 21. Seminal vesicles in 9, 10, 11, 12 and smaller in 9, 10 than in 11, 12. Spermathecae simple, intra-coelomic, in 9 and 10. Small ovisacs present.
Possible confusion
Species often confused with Eisenia andrei.
Geographical origin: Europe.
Distribution status: Peregrine
General comment: From vermiculture in Mongolia (Blakemore, 2013d).
Present in: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azores, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, French Guiana, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, Hawaii, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madeira, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Helena Island, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, The Netherlands, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela,
► See also distribution references
Ecological category: Epigeic, Epiendogeic, Corticolous
Climatic zone: Boreal, Temperate, Mediterranean, Sub-tropical
Habitat: Forests, Croplands, Urban areas
Micro-habitat: Soil, Dead woods, Caves

E. fetida is a species only found in temperate and boreal countries. In nature, this epigeic species lives near the soil surface, within the decomposing organic matter or in dead woods, and sometimes in caves (as reported by Turbanov et al. in 2016 in Georgia and Russia). Due to its high affinity with composting material, it has become the main species used in vermiculture. It is also a central species as model in toxicological studies and scientific research on earthworm molecular biology.

General data Thematic references Distribution references