Monday, November 28, 2005

Earthworms can help dissolve blood clots for stroke patients

" I observed that the crude extract of our native and composting earthworms have demonstrated anti blood clotting activity,' said Ang Lopez"

Crude extract? What is that, worm juice? And why does all the interesting worm news always come from the Philipines?

Earthworms can help dissolve blood clots for stroke patients

Monday, November 14, 2005

This Just In

Worms make a mess and encourage weeds. So spray on the herbicides. Nice. Thanks, guys.

News 14 Carolina | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES | Earthworms leave behind a mess

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gardeners' Question Time

BBC Radio 4 has chosen The Earth Moved as one of their recommended books for Christmas 2005. See the complete list, and tune in for the show this Sunday Nov. 13, here:

BBC - Radio 4 - Gardeners' Question Time - Homepage

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nightcrawlers: Just Blowing Smoke?

Researchers at Ohio State University blew smoke into nightcrawler burrows to study the extent to which these worm holes help move liquid manure around underground. Farmers inject the manure into the ground as a way of disposing of it; their rich soil and no-till soil conservation techniques make the earth a perfect earthworm habitat. Great news, except that the burrows are helping the manure drain so well that it tends to collect in these underground drain pipes and show up where it's not wanted. Unfortunately, that could mean that they also help move pesticides and chemical fertilizers into underground drainage systems faster, too.

The solution? Don't get rid of the worms. They're just doing their job. Change your farming practices.

“The most practical and best suggestion, though,” Shipitalo says, “would be to install shutoff valves so the drains can be shut during manure application and for a short time afterwards. Ohio farmers are currently doing this, with cost-sharing from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Get the full story here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cafe Spineless

I'm a few days late getting this up, but Circus of the Spineless was hosted by Snail's Tales this month. Go here for a dazzling assortment of inveterate invertebrates, all served up for your enjoyment. You got your snails, your worms, your caterpillars, and so much more. This image comes from one of my favorite menu selections, pomegranate stuffed with paper wasp. Mmmmmm!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Worms and grubs

A post at ...but it's dirty reminds me that people often ask me about a grub or worm they found, and it's worth pointing out, in case you've ever wondered, that when we talk about worms, we're usually talking about terrestrial worms, those creatures that belong to the taxonomic class Oligochaeta. Cabbageworms, cutworms, parsley worms, and tomato worms are not worms at all but moth or butterfly caterpillars. Roundworms, tapeworms, flatworms and ribbon worms are interesting creatures in their own right but are not earthworms as such. When you read about scientists doing genetic experiments with worms, they are also usually not talking about earthworms, but instead about c. elegans, a sort of lab rat of the nematode world.