Plants and Animals

Crazy Worms That Can Jump a Foot in the Air Are Invading California

Crazy Worms That Can Jump a Foot in the Air Are Invading California

The Asian jumping worm, also known as Alabama jumpers or Jersey wrigglers, is an invasive species of the Amynthas genus that was once endemic to Japan and the Korean Peninsula. These fugitives arrived in North America on foreign commercial ships in the 19th century and were said to hitchhike throughout the country hiding in plants. They may thrash fiercely like a rattlesnake, jump a foot in the air, and clone themselves, giving them the appearance of being created by a science fiction author.

These invasive species have progressively made their way throughout the United States. Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin have them as of 2021. They have now sought sanctuary in California, which might be bad news for the ecosystem. The worm was discovered in a containerized plant in a nursery in Napa County by a California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) entomologist in July 2021 and has since been confirmed by DNA sequencing.

“It’s probable that Amynthas agrestis will be able to develop a widespread distribution over California’s forest habitat and ornamental producing sites, particularly in residential and commercial settings,” says the study. CDFA provided information. These nutrient-sucking worms are a huge problem, and scientists are concerned about them because they create a coffee-ground-like mess in the soil. “It has little nutritional value and doesn’t keep any moisture,” Eugene Reelick, proprietor of Hollandia Nursery in Bethel, told AP News. “It’s been completely pared down.” You have no choice except to dig it up and replace it with new dirt.”

These worms are never satisfied and can consume the forest’s litter layer, which is home to a variety of small animals and plants. Without the covering of leaf litter, the latter cannot develop or spread. “Soil is the foundation of life, and Asian jumping worms are changing it,” says Forest Service researcher Mac Callaham. “Earthworms, in fact, can have such massive consequences that they can reengineer ecosystems around them.”

These worms compete for resources with more garden-friendly earthworms, resulting in poor soil quality. Their eggs may also hatch without being fertilized, allowing them to lay hundreds of eggs that blend in nicely with the earth. So, what’s the best way to get rid of these eggs? Unfortunately, there are no accurate suggestions at this time, as these are strong tiny insects with cocoons that can endure extreme temperatures. Research that employed “prescribed fire” found that it reduced the amount of eggs but did not totally eliminate them. Handpicking and destroying them is regarded to be the best method.