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A quick rundown on Earthworm reproduction

Updated on February 28, 2011

It’s quite peculiar though that worms (whether these are red worms or nightcrawlers) cannot reproduce on their own even if they’re born with both the female and male reproductive organs. This is actually accurate about worms but they can still produce their own brood of offspring. But in order for this to happen, they’ll still need the help of another of their kind. And like most living creatures (typically of animals), the earthworm reproduction takes place as soon as two worms come together.

An earthworms reproduction cycle

The earthworm reproductive system goes by through a continuous cycle. Worms will always have to go through the following stages to be able to mature and breed again: egg or cocoon stage, juvenile stage (as baby worms), adult or mature stage, and mating stage. 

A time for mating

Vermicomposting worms will never be able to fertilize on their own. But one thing’s for sure, these worms will surely start procreating during warmer temperatures (especially during the summer). Although they won’t mate with a worm that isn’t of their kind, they will certainly mate with anyone that is, without ever thinking twice. Now worms will always rely on their senses, and will rely on the vibrations on the ground when it comes to finding a mate (also take note that worms have been born to have no eyes or ears); and as soon as two worms touch and join together, the mating process will begin.

The mating process

When two worm composting worms are in the process of mating, they will at a certain point, join together and start exchanging sperms (this is the only time when the male sex organ functions). You will know that they are already mating when you see each head opposite of each other (sex between two worms can last for more or less 3 hours). Now after this occurs, both of the worms will then begin to fertilize their eggs (the only time when the female sex organ functions) and then separate from each other. The worms clitellum will be the one to push out slimy, tube-like substances towards the head of each worm (this is how the worm cocoons are formed), where these will be buried under the soil.

The cocoon

After earthworm reproduction, the worm cocoons (whether these are from red wigglers or nightcrawlers) will only start hatching within a timeframe of a month to two months. But if the growing conditions for these eggs are not good (for survival reasons), then these worms will remain in their eggs for as long as one year.


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