Lifecycle of earthworms

The life-cycle of the compost worm Eisenia fetida (Oligochaeta) was evaluated in a sicentific study by Venter and Reinecke im 1988, published in the South African Journal of Zoology, Volume 23, pages 161 to 165.

Eisenia fetida were placed in a cattle manure medium at optimal temperature and moisture levels and observed for 600 days. Earthworms were shown to:

  • be reproductively active for more than 500 days
  • Each cocoon produced 2.7 hatchlings on average, after an average 23 days of incubation.
  • Hatchlings attained sexual maturity after 40 to 60 days
  • In another study by Spurgeon and Hopkin in 1996 showed earthworms produce one to 2 cocoons per week on average. Only some of the cocoons are fertilized and some of the hatchlings survive
  • In a study by Tripathi and Bhardwaj in 1994 Eisenia foetida was shown to produce 9 net hatchlings per months.

Information from scientific publications on earthworms is accessible from (or at least the abstract is).

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2 Responses to Lifecycle of earthworms

  1. I’m glad you found it helpful!

  2. Peter et Mia says:

    very informative thanks

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