Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!
The intention of this blog post demonstrate what information is passed to us by the news.
Due to the political nature of everything, I feel I can mitigate strong feelings other than my disdain for news by talking about an invasive species instead of the volatile stuff.
Perhaps this post will broaden the perspective we have when reading content.
Ahem… Tap Tap… Check … Mic Check…
As a devotee to many things things creepy crawly, I have been interested in the invasion of Amynthas Agrestis, the Asian jumping worm. These little beasties have been in the news lately, but upon further digging, this is probably content filler for outlets with nothing better to write about. Here is an example.
This headline by By Allison Finch, from Accuweather.com may be a bit over the top, clickbait, if you will.
This article tells me they are invasive, aggressive, can jump and thrash, have an voracious and insatiable appetites and can be found in 34 states. This article leaves me wondering with more questions than answers as to whether they are evil.
Do they eat plants? Do they bully other critters? Do they jump up and slap your girl?
I don’t know. If we will dig in the muck, we may discover more.
Lets get started with Wikipedia.
Amynthas agrestis, the Asian jumping worm, is a species of worm in the family Megascolecidae. They have a smooth, glossy grey or brown body with a milky white clitellum, and can range from 1.5 to 8 inches (3.8 to 20.3 cm) in length.Amynthas agrestis is native to Japan and the Korean Peninsula, and was introduced to North America due to increased human activity during the 19th century; it is considered to be an invasive species in the United States. Worms within the genus Amynthas reproduce and develop quicker than their European counterparts.
Wait, since the 1800s? Is this news from up to 200 years ago?
One of the main concerns is the over-consumption of leaf litter, which will impact the microbial and species diversity of the native soil. Many of these ecological scientists have created ways to control this invasive species. One of the main ways to control Amynthas agrestis is controlled burn in grassy fields and some forests. This method removes leaf litter, the main food source for Amynthas agrestis, which should thoroughly control the overall population of Asian worms.
I see. These worms overconsume, impacting the diversity of microbes and species so we should burn the food source for all to remove them. This sounds like a scorched earth policy, but I bet it is effective and the native species can repopulate.
According to The Gaudian, this may not work in all areas though.
“They are destructive and cause severe damage to hardwood forests, especially those consisting of maple, basswood, red oak, poplar or birch species that rely on thick layers of leaf litter that serve as rooting medium,” according to the CDFA report, which notes that the “voracious feeders” can devour a cover of organic material in “two to five years”.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/21/invasive-jumping-worms-amynthas-agrestis-california
This is insightful. There is a significant impact to hardwood forests with an explanation. Good job, Gaurdian.
Well, not so fast. This is how the article got my attention.
Extremely active’ jumping worms that can leap a foot raise alarm in Californiahttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/21/invasive-jumping-worms-amynthas-agrestis-california
To See This!
So, I went out on a quest to see the mighty Asian Jumping Worm complete this act of athleticism. I tried YouTube.
I was unable to find ANY videos of Asian Jumping Worms jumping. (I also searched “asian jumping worm leaping.”)
However, I did find this from Inside Edition. It sort of stresses me out.
I wonder if most people will indiscriminately kill all worms in an effort to save the world. Out of 2.4 million views on this clip alone, there are bound to be folks that cannot differentiate between the Asian jumping worm and the European Earthworm.
These are the “good guys.”
Wait… This is a pest in some areas as well? Which is the evil twin?
I meant the European Nightcrawler.
Seriously, I will have a hard time telling these three creepy crawlies apart, other than one writhes around aggressively. Is this it?
They are in the top six inches of my soil, but rather lethargic.
Are they safe? Who knows? My birds love them.
Kill them all and let the dark worm lord sort it out I suppose if you listen to the Google and the news.
Why bring up something that has been a concern for centuries as if it were new?
Why say they can leap a foot in the air when there is nothing to support this?
Why enencourage folks to kill something difficult to identify? Surely, we will kill beneficial critters and allow worse ones.
I have no clue if the Asian Jumping Worm is an evil twin or if all earthworms are evil.
The intention of this blog post demonstrate what information is passed to us by the news, and I hope this post raised more questions than answers. I think all major media is like this at the moment.