Earthworms are essential in ecology and agriculture. Their burrowing allows more water and air to enter the soil. They speed up the breakdown of dead plants as they mix soil and leaves. It is therefore surprising that very little is known about earthworms.
Delving into the world of earthworms, you will find that they are surprisingly diverse. With a bit of experience, most species can be identified by colour, size, behaviour and other features visible in the field.
This guide was designed to allow easy identification of both live and preserved specimens. Two identification keys are pesented: one key containing common species supported by photographs and a key to all the species using a combination of macroscopic and microscopic features. Characteristics and habitat are briefly discussed for each species. The majority of the species are depicted with high quality photographs of live specimens.