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ON SUFFOLK EARTH WORMS.

ON SUFFOLK EARTH WORMS. DÜRING the

BY ARTHUR MAYFIELD, F.L.S.

summer of 1892 I devoted some time to hunting for Oligochaets* in the neighbourhood of Norwich, and succeeded infindingfourteen species of Earth-worms and one allied freshwater form. A record of these Worms was included by the Revd. Hilderic Friend, under whose guidance I worked, in a paper entitled ' Some Norfolk Annelids,' published in Trans. Norf. Nat. Soc. ix, p. 394. Since that time I had given little attention to this small but interesting branch of our fauna until about a year ago, when I promised to make, for the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, a record of such Worms as might come under my notice in this county. I am afraid that my efforts have been somewhat desultory, because I have had several other irons in the fire. However I am able to place on record the existence here of a dozen species of Earth-worms, to which must be added a freshwater Worm that was found in a well at Mildenhall in 1907 and published by Mr. Friend, by whom it was described as Anagaster fontinalis. The aforesaid Worms are not distributed equally throughout the county, of course ; for, as Isaac Walton has said, " there are also divers other kinds of worms which, for colour and shape, alter even as the ground out of which they are got: as the marsh-worm, the oak-worm, the gilt-tail, the twachel or lobworm." Now, although some of these cannot be identified as true Earth-worms because Walton included in his loose term ' worms' f all kinds of grubs and caterpillars, yet there is a sufficiency of truth in his Statement to Warrant the expectation of finding different Worm-populations, according as one examines a garden, a marsh, or a rotten tree-stump. [The parent Worm lays a number of eggs in one little horny cocoon or sac, which contains also a nutritiousfluidwhereon the offspring feed as soon as hatching has taken place. One *At leastfive-and-twentyspecies of these Earth-worms were known as British forty years ago (sec. List in Sei. Gossip 1893, p.31 ; pace our Trans, p. 7, supra). Now we know nearly forty indigenous kinds.— Hon. Secretary. fOf these other worms, we can at present claim no more than the Horse Leech (Hcemopsis sanguisuga), abundant in water everywhere throughout Suffolk and notably in ditches at Southtown ; along with the Land Leech (Trocheta viridis), which used to be taken in the garden of Dallinghoo rectory about 1858 by the Revd. Ellis Walford (teste W. H. Tuck, inlit. 15th July, 1913). But both these belong to the Tribe Hirudinea whereof Britain has a score of species, and not to the Tribe Chaetopoda like the Earth-worms ; however, both tribes pertain to the Order Coelomata.—Ed.


ON SUFFOLK EARTH WORMS.

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member of the brood, when this food-supply becomes exhausted, turns to its brethren for provender and incontinently devours them in succession. When the sac is thus cleared, the survivor emerges alone and ever after leads a blameless and peaceable life, feeding chiefly upon minute organisms in the earth that shelters i t ; if vegetable matter come in its way it is not disdained, nor are fragments of animals eschewed, but no sort of cannibalistic instinct survives the young worm's evacuation of the embryonic sac.—ED.] Our two largest species, the Common Earth-worm (Lumbricus terrestris) and the Blue-nose or Long-worm (Allolobophora longa) are to be found throughout the county, although not in equal quantity; for the latter far outnumbers the true Common Earth-worm, especially on the heavy lands of central and southwest Suffolk. They are continually being confused with each other in populär accounts of Earth-worms, and characteristics peculiar to each are ascribed to the description of an individual Worm. The Long-worm generally may be distinguished from the other at a glance by its darker colouration and lack of iridescence; but their anatomical distinctions, belonging to different genera, are considerable, of course. Even Walton recognised their disparity for, although he includes both in the name ' Lob-worm,' he says that " there be also of lobworms some called squirrel-tails, a worm that has a red head, a streak down the back, and a broad tail, which are noted to be best because they are the toughest and most lively." Two other Worms, recommended for bait in The Compleat Angler, are unmistakable and no doubt well-known. These are the Gilttail (Dendrobcena subrubicunda) and the Brandling (Eisenia fcetida), both of which are to be found ' in an old dung-hill or some very rotten place near to it.' A Mendlesham gardener gave me a coffee-tin fßll of Worms, that he had taken from an old hot-bed. After the rejection from these of many immature specimens which, owing to the absence of clitellum or girdle, could not easily be identified with certainty, there remained fifty-seven adult Worms. Out of this number thirty-two were Brandlings, seventeen were Gilttails, and the residue were Lumbricus castaneus, a species allied to the Common Earth-worm but smaller, of darker colouration, and very active. The two last often occur in heaps of decayed garden refuse, and appear to be fairly common. A third kind of Lumbricus, named L. rubellus or the Red Worm, occurs much more sparingly ; I have found specimens of this in a Mendlesham garden and at the roots of grass in a meadow at Needham Market. While keeping a look-out during some gardening Operations at Mendlesham, I was surprised to see the Milkyworm (Odoclasium lacteum) and the Mucous-worm (Eisenia


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ON SUFFOLK EARTH WORMS.

rosea) turned up, rather plentifully. The former I found near Norwich on only two occasions, and the latter I had previously seen only under turf in moist meadows. E. rosea occurs frequently in meadow-land in the Gipping Valley at Needham Market and Creeting, and with it appears the Turgid-worm (Allolobophora turgida) sparingly, as well as the Green-worm (A. chlorotica) plentifully. This last seems to prefer soils containing an abundance of lime. Diligent search for the Tree-worm (Dendrobcena arborea) was rewarded by the discovery of two specimens under a rotten piece of willow in a meadow at Creeting. The little Square-tail (Eiseniella tetraedra) seems to occur everywhere in wet situations ; I have found the typical form by the banks of the Gipping River, in the fens of the Little Ouse valley, and in the mud at the margins of ponds at Mendlesham ; also I came across the pretty yellow form (var. lutea) upon one occasion, under Marchantia, one of the Liverworts, by the river's side at Needham Market. Many of the known species of British Earth-worms have been taken in only one or two localities at present; I have seen other County lists, and the number recorded is usually between twelve and twenty. I am sure that continued search will add two or three more kinds to those already found here; but, at present, the catalogue of known Suffolk Oligochaets stands as follows ; GLOSSOSCOLF.CID/E.

Anagaster fontinalis,

Friend.

LUMBRICID.ÂŽ.

Lumbricus rubellus, Hoffm. Lumbricus castaneus, Sav. Lumbricus terrestris, Linn. Odoclasium lacteum, Oerley. Eisenia Jcetida, Sav. Eisenia rosea, Sav. Dendrobcena subrubicunda, Eisen. Dendrobcena arborea, Eisen. Allolobophora chlorotica, Sav. Allolobophora turgida, Eisen. Allolobophora longa, Ude. Eiseniella tetraedra, Sav.

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