Jumping Worms are Invading Wisconsin – Here’s What to Look For
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking for the public's help with stopping the invasive Jumping Worm.
The Jumping Worm, also known as Asian jumping worms, crazy worms, Alabama jumpers and snake worms, were first discovered in Wisconsin in 2013 and in Minnesota in 2006 and are quickly spreading across both states.
Jumping Worms grow faster, reproduce more quickly and eat more nutrients than other earthworms, they also transform soil into dry, granular pellets that leaves the soil with a texture like discarded coffee grounds. After that happens, the soil becomes hostile to native plant species and welcoming to invasive plants.
Jumping Worms don't spend much time far into soil, they like to live on the soil surface in debris and leaf litter, they are smooth, and have a glossy dark gray/brown color. They get their name from the violent thrashing behavior they display, and they can even jump into the air due to this trashing, they act more like snakes than a traditional worm. The DNR also says that they live in large groups, so if you find one, there are likely many more around.
If you need help identifying a Jumping Worm, check out this helpful guide called 'Meet the Jumping Worm' from the University of Minnesota.
Jumping Worms self-fertilize and do not need mates to reproduce, their egg capsules, or cocoons, are left in the soil during winter and hatch in the spring, the cocoons are about the size of a mustard seed and often resemble dirt, so they are difficult to find.