Difference Between Red Worm & Red Wiggler

By Kathy Lautner

While you may think a worm is a worm, there are actually about 6,000 known species of worms! The common earth worm and the red wiggler are two among them. While they have their "worminess" in common, there are many differences between these two species of worms

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Species

Red wriggle worms are part of the species Eisenia fetida. They are also sometimes called red worms or tiger worms. The red worm is a type of earth worm. Earth worm is the generic name for many types of soil-based worms. The most common type of earth worm is the lumbricus terrestris.

Defenses

When the red wriggler is threatened, it emits a substance that contains foul odor.

Where they are found

Earth worms are commonly found in nutrient-rich soils. Red wrigglers can survive in conditions that other worms cannot, including soils at higher temperatures, which makes them effective in compost bins because they can withstand the temperature rises that occur as foods decompose.

Red worms and Composting

Red Wigglers are commonly used in what is called vermicomposting, which breaks down food scraps and waste using worms.

Reproduction

Both Red Wrigglers and common earthworms are hermaphroditic - meaning they can reproduce without the presence of other worms. The life span of most worms is one to eight years.