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Earthworms are not indigenous to America: Can this be true?

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posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 07:24 PM
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Earthworms are currently big business, with everything from worms to entire worm-farms on sale as part of the "green revolution".
Hence, I read with great surprise that the critters may not have been native to the Americas.
Well, the theory goes that they once existed in North America, but that the last Ice Age wiped them out.
The huge forests then adapted, and the shrubbery beneath the trees relied on the slowly decomposing plant matter.

Apparently the British unwittingly reintroduced the worms, who decomposed the plant matter much quicker and altered the ecosystem.

As a worm-phobic, I'm sure the Native Americans must have been horrified when they found the wriggling invaders in their gardens.
I wonder if there is true consensus amongst scientists on this issue?
www.charlesmann.org...




posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 07:39 PM
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I love worms.

When I was a kid, we would look for nightcrawlers, which you could use for fishing with great success.

You just bang a wooden stob into the ground about a foot, and then take an old wood saw and saw it back and forth on the exposed end. The vibrations would cause the worms to come up out of the ground, and you could just pick them up and drop them into a can or a tupperware bowl. Those damn old catfish would tear them up!!

Another was the so-called "cataba" worm. They would be on this weird kind of tree in the swamp, and you'd just go and pick them off. Then, when you were ready to use them as bait, you pull their heads off and turn them inside out. The catfish would really go for them.

Worms are great. I am sort of an expert on worms.




posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 08:19 PM
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I remember reading something about how some non-indigenous species of worms were introduced to North America by the settlers:

One mentioned that it might have came from their ships that used soil as ballast, which would have been dumped out when they got here, possibly; another said that the settlers brought them here (or their own dirt, was it maybe...) in order that some crop would grow better here.

I read these when I was looking up the best way to make a "garden gold" bin a while ago. Can't seem to find the site that referred to it though.



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by MzMorbid
 

My link in the OP discusses those very issues, so perhaps it is what you read?



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 08:34 PM
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According to info at the link, it appears that horses, cattle, sheep, goats and chickens were not indigenous to North America either. I really find this hard to believe.

Something I never knew and was very surprised to read was that the early colonists became cannibalistic due to starvation. I do not remember that from any history class. Reading this was unexpected:




By the beginning of 1610, the settlers at Jamestown were dining on "dogs, cats, rats, and mice," Percy wrote, as well as the starch for their Elizabethan ruffs, which could be cooked into a kind of porridge. With famine "ghastly and pale in every face," some colonists stirred themselves to "dig up dead corpse[s] out of graves and to eat them." One man murdered his pregnant wife and "salted her for his food." When John Rolfe arrived that spring, only about 60 people at Jamestown had survived what was called "the starving time."




Apparently the English colonists brought holy hell and chaos with them!





Indians woke up to find free-range cows and horses romping through their fields, trampling the harvest. If they killed the beasts, gun-waving colonists demanded payment. To the English, the whole concept of a "civilized" landscape was one in which ownership of the land was signaled by fencing fields and raising livestock.

...

The natives found themselves competing for food with packs of feral pigs.





Very interesting read. Thanks for posting!


If you enjoy earthworms...you might like this story about the earthworm charmer.

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 09:00 PM
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Reply to post by MMPI2
 


interesting. never heard of doing it that way, ill have to try it. only way i knew how to get them was watering the yard during the evening and going out with a dim flashlight at night. was fun as a kid playin a little tug-of-war with the nightcrawlers.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 09:08 PM
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Only two genera of Lumbricid earthworms are indigenous to North America while introduced genera have spread to areas where earthworms did not formerly exist, especially in the north where forest development relies on a large amount of undecayed leaf matter. When worms decompose that leaf layer, the ecology may shift making the habitat unsurvivable for certain species of trees, ferns and wildflowers. Another possible ecologic impact of greater earthworm numbers: larger earthworms (e.g. the night crawler, Lumbricus terrestris, and the Alabama jumper, Amynthas agrestis) can be eaten by adult salamanders, and when the salamanders do consume the earthworms they are more successful at reproduction. However, those earthworms are too large for juvenile salamanders to consume, which leads to a net loss in salamander population.


Don't panic, they are natural, and indigenous besides, they would not have survived the trip

edit on 24/12/10 by woogleuk because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 09:46 PM
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reply to post by Alethea
 

'By the beginning of 1610, the settlers at Jamestown were dining on "dogs, cats, rats, and mice," Percy wrote, as well as the starch for their Elizabethan ruffs, which could be cooked into a kind of porridge. With famine "ghastly and pale in every face," some colonists stirred themselves to "dig up dead corpse[s] out of graves and to eat them."'

Not to be morbid or death metal, but I suppose digging up wormless corpses might be slightly more appetizing?


It does make me wonder though whether this is why many native tribes practiced a variation of the sky-burial, in which the dead were left on scaffolds for birds and other animals to consume, rather than ground burials?
Without worms they would not have decomposed very well in the ground.
That is asked in the spirit of scientific inquiry.
edit on 24-12-2010 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

edit on 24-12-2010 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 10:05 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

What about the Vikings (and some other possible pre-Columbian visitors) to the North American coast?
Wouldn't they have left some worms?
Did they have any?

Maybe their anchors were without sediment, or it was too far north.



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 10:07 PM
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reply to post by Alethea
 


Dear A. are you being serious?
pigs werent from these parts either, as christianity, unlike some may believe, chicken pox, tuberculosis, the pox, capitalism, extreme hunger due to poverty, ritualized over gluttony on certain occasions, mass genocide and several other neat things also!


some earth worms were introduced to the Americas, mot all, as wacky pedia is our annelid friend!




A total of approximately 182 earthworm taxa in 12 families are reported from America north of Mexico, i.e., USA & Canada, of which 60 (ca. 33%) are exotic/introduced.[9] Only two genera of Lumbricid earthworms are indigenous to North America while introduced genera have spread to areas where earthworms did not formerly exist, especially in the north where forest development relies on a large amount of undecayed leaf matter. When worms decompose that leaf layer, the ecology may shift making the habitat unsurvivable for certain species of trees, ferns and wildflowers. Another possible ecologic impact of greater earthworm numbers: larger earthworms (e.g. the night crawler, Lumbricus terrestris, and the Alabama jumper, Amynthas agrestis) can be eaten by adult salamanders, and when the salamanders do consume the earthworms they are more successful at reproduction. However, those earthworms are too large for juvenile salamanders to consume, which leads to a net loss in salamander population.[


source



posted on Dec, 24 2010 @ 10:10 PM
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reply to post by woogleuk
 


there you go my friend!
thread on!

see its not that hard, typing "earthworms" isn't so complex!


BTW, I love worms, and have kept wooden boxes and crystal fish tanks filled with worms, spyders, snails, and several other critters!

and remember if you see a worm in a forest and in said forest there are ferns, get the buggers out and offer them to the reptile, or birdy like gods as food!



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 02:05 AM
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I wonder if anybody knows whether earthworms (or their eggs) can be sold freely between countries.
It seems now that they can actually become a pest affecting local wildlife.



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 02:10 AM
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reply to post by woogleuk
 


OK but what aboutthe giant erathworms. I read about them as a kid and have been fascinated by them eversince. I know they are found in Australia but also in the USA. Any Info gratefully accepted.



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by Alethea


According to info at the link, it appears that horses, cattle, sheep, goats and chickens were not indigenous to North America either. I really find this hard to believe.

I didn't know about the earthworms, but it's well known these species were all domesticated in Europe and the Middle East, then brought later to North America.

Horses were especially shocking to the Native Americans because they were usually first encountered with men riding on their backs. Supposedly, the Aztecs were very confused upon seeing the first of Cortez's men - to them it looked like a two headed, four legged beast, that then split in two when the man got off the horse (you have to remember the horses and men were probably also armored and covered with military colors, so that would have further added to their confusion). The very first domesticated horses as mounts from Asia might have given rise to the ancient Greek myths about Centaurs. When the first ridden horses were encountered by those people, it seems they may have been just as confused as the Aztecs upon first seeing them.

We take it for granted, a man on a horse, but I remember my own confusion about the Internet when I first started using it back in January of 1995. I'd only then just heard of it, but had no idea what it was, really. I fired up this newfangled Netscape thing at my college computer lab and it took me about a day to really understand just how it worked and what was really going on when I clicked these links. It was mindboggling to me. I imagine that's a bit like what someone seeing a horse and rider for the first time, without any context to relate it to, might have felt.

The Americas had buffalo, which were the main form of cattle here before Europeans came, but they were not domesticated and ran wild in massive herds numbering in the millions, sometimes. They were hunted for food, but never kept for grazing, milking, etc. Cows and oxen are distinctly Old World.
edit on 12/25/2010 by LifeInDeath because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
reply to post by Alethea
 

'By the beginning of 1610, the settlers at Jamestown were dining on "dogs, cats, rats, and mice," Percy wrote, as well as the starch for their Elizabethan ruffs, which could be cooked into a kind of porridge. With famine "ghastly and pale in every face," some colonists stirred themselves to "dig up dead corpse[s] out of graves and to eat them."'

Not to be morbid or death metal, but I suppose digging up wormless corpses might be slightly more appetizing?


It does make me wonder though whether this is why many native tribes practiced a variation of the sky-burial, in which the dead were left on scaffolds for birds and other animals to consume, rather than ground burials?
Without worms they would not have decomposed very well in the ground.

There were still worms, but extra worms have since been introduced to America from other countries.
Just like flies and bees, different species are native to different countires.




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