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General data Thematic references Distribution references
Lumbricus terrestris   (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Lumbricidae     Genus: Lumbricus
Synonyms: Lumbricus terrestris Linnaeus, 1758: 647.
Lumbricus terrestris (part.): Muller 1774; Orley 1885: 30; Michaelsen 1900: 511; Hutton 1904; Szuts 1909: 142; Ude 1929; Cernosvitov 1947; Zicsi 1959: 433, 1968: 130; Sims 1973: 32; Zicsi 1982: 443; Easton 1983: 482; Zicsi 1991: 173; Mrsic 1991: 481; Sims and Gerard 1999: 106; Csuzdi and Zicsi: 2003: 188.
Lumbricus agricola Hoffmeister, 1842: 24.
Lumbricus americanus Perrier, 1872: 44.
Lumbricus studeri Ribaucourt, 1896: 5.
... more synonyms
Infraspecific taxons: Lumbricus terrestris terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lumbricus terrestris voconcus (Bouche, 1972)
Short description
External characteristics
Length: 130-250mm. Diameter: 7-9mm. 108-180 segments. Cylindrical body shape with a noticeable flattening in the last segments. Pigmentation violet-red with antero-posterior and dorso-ventral gradient. Setae closely paired. Prostomium tanyobous. Dorsal pores well visible, the first in (7/8) 8/9. Glandular ventral zone in 8-12. Nephropores well developed, on a line in ab or alternate between setal lines ab and cd. Male pore vertical slot-shaped in 1/2 15, in ab. Female pore slot-shaped in 14, in ab. Spermathecae open well visible in 9/10-10/11, between setal lines ab and cd. Clitellum saddle-shaped in (31) 32-37 (38). Tubercles oval gutter-shaped on 33-36.
Internal characteristics
First septum in 4/5. Moniliforme hearts in 7-11. Nephridia tubular. Excretory system holonephridial, nephridial bladders tubular shaped. Calciferous glands in 10-14 with bilobed diverticula in 100, 11, 12. Crop in 1/2 14-16. Gizzard in 17-18. Typhlosole beginning gradually around 22-23. Seminal vesicles in 9, 11, 12 and smaller in 9, 11 than in 12. When fully mature, vesicles in 12 occupy the intra-coelomic volume of segments 12, 13 and 14. Spermathecae simple, intra-coelomic and intra-setal, most of the time in 9 and 11. Ovisacs present.
Geographical origin: Originating from the palearctic zone, this species is today widely distributed in Europe and Russia, except in the arctic area. It has been introduced in North America. In the Southern hemisphere, it has been introduced in many temperate areas, such as Eastern Australia and New Zealand.
Distribution status: Invasive
Present in: Algeria, Austria, Azores, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Madeira, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay,
► See also distribution references
Ecological category: Anecic
Climatic zone: Boreal, Temperate
Habitat: Forests, Meadows, Croplands, Urban areas
Micro-habitat: Soil

L. terrestris can stand cold temperatures and tolerate soils with pH values from 3.5 to 8. However, it is not frost-tolerant indicating that it probably hibernates in deep soil layers during the winter (Tiunov et al., 2006; Wironen and Moore, 2006). This species comes to the surface to feed where it pull leaves into the mouth of its burrow where they partially decay before being eaten. It is considered invasive in the north central United States where it thrives in fence rows and woodlots and can lead to reductions in native herbaceous and tree regrowth.

General data Thematic references Distribution references