The life cycle of Amynthas agrestis, A. tokioensis and Metaphire hilgendorfi. These three species share an annual life cycle in which they overwinter in the soil as cocoons, hatch in the spring (or when conditions are favorable), and mature from juveniles to clitellate adults over the summer months. Months of diagram are based on populations of jumping worms in the US Midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois); pie proportions are not drawn to scale. J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f

The life cycle of Amynthas agrestis, A. tokioensis and Metaphire hilgendorfi. These three species share an annual life cycle in which they overwinter in the soil as cocoons, hatch in the spring (or when conditions are favorable), and mature from juveniles to clitellate adults over the summer months. Months of diagram are based on populations of jumping worms in the US Midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois); pie proportions are not drawn to scale. J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f

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Peregrine pheretimoid earthworms, commonly known as jumping worms, are members of the family Megascolecidae that have become widely established outside of their native ranges. In many parts of the world this represents a second wave of earthworm invasions, following the introduction of peregrine European earthworms in the family Lumbricidae during...

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... However, 16 of the species have invaded 38 states in the USA and one Canadian province (Chang et al. 2016a;Reynolds 2018) (Fig. 1). Their invasion in ecosystems throughout the eastern USA as well as in a few locations in southern Ontario, Canada has increasingly raised concerns among ecologists, conservationists, land managers, horticultural professionals, and the general public Moore et al. 2018;McCay et al. 2020). ...
... Management and control of invasive pheretimoid earthworms has scarcely been applied at any operational scale, and data are available mainly from golf courses, where these worms have been controlled predominantly through pesticides (Redmond et al. 2016). However, a few studies have attempted to develop management guidelines to address this problem (McCay et al. 2020). Managing any kind of pest requires detailed knowledge of the life cycle of the species in question, as well as information about the life stages most likely to be susceptible to management intervention. ...
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The invasion of jumping worms, a small group of pheretimoid earthworm species from Asia, has increasingly become an ecological, environmental and conservation issue in forest ecosystems and urban-suburban landscapes around the world. Their presence is often noticed due to their high abundance, distinctive “jumping” behavior, and prominent granular casts on the soil surface. Although they are known to affect soil carbon dynamics and nutrient availability, no single paper has summarized their profound impacts on soil biodiversity, plant community, and animals of all trophic groups that rely on soil and the leaf litter layer for habitat, food, and shelter. In this study, we summarize the biology, invasion, and ecological impacts of invasive jumping worms across North America. We highlight potential impacts of this second wave of earthworm invasion, contrast them with the preceding European earthworm invasion in temperate forests in North America, and identify annual life cycle, reproductive and cocoon survival strategies, casting behavior and co-invasion dynamics as the key factors that contribute to their successful invasion and distinct ecological impacts. We then suggest potential management and control strategies for practitioners and policy makers, underscore the importance of coordinated community science projects in tracking the spread, and identify knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to understand and control the invasion.
... The mustard mixture irritates the earthworms' skin, and they come to the surface, where they can be identified and counted. The cost, ease, and safety of use makes this method particularly appropriate for a community science campaign, particularly for invasive pheretimoid earthworms that live close to the surface (McCay et al. 2020). The participants recorded the presence or absence and abundance of jumping worms within each quadrat and photographed each mustard-pour location. ...
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Asian pheretimoid earthworms of the genera Amynthas and Metaphire (jumping worms) are leading a new wave of coinvasion into Northeastern and Midwestern states, with potential consequences for native organisms and ecosystem processes. However, little is known about their distribution, abundance, and habitat preferences in urban landscapes—areas that will likely influence their range expansion via human-driven spread. We led a participatory field campaign to assess jumping worm distribution and abundance in Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States. By compressing 250 person-hours of sampling effort into a single day, we quantified the presence and abundance of three jumping worm species across different land-cover types (forest, grassland, open space, and residential lawns and gardens), finding that urban green spaces differed in invasibility. We show that community science can be powerful for researching invasive species while engaging the public in conservation. This approach was particularly effective in the present study, where broad spatial sampling was required within a short temporal window.
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The invasive Asian earthworms, Amynthas tokioensis and A. agrestis , have been successful in entering North American forests in recent decades, with significant damage to both soils and above-ground environments. This success could be driven in part by a polyploid genetic system and parthenogenetic reproduction, often suggested as benefits for invasive species. Therefore, we assessed the genetic population structure, genetic diversity, and reproductive system of both species using morphological traits and panels of microsatellite markers. A total of 216 A. tokioensis and 196 A. agrestis from six sites in Vermont USA were analyzed. Although all worms were morphologically hermaphroditic, all the A. agrestis lacked the male pore (the structure allowing pass of sperm between individuals), and only 19% of the A. tokioensis possessed the male pore. All A. tokioensis earthworms were triploid (scored for three alleles for at least 1 locus, and usually several), and A. agrestis was a mix of triploid and diploid individuals. Notable was the high proportion (80%) of A. agrestis earthworms that were diploid at one site. There was clearly clonal reproduction, with identical seven- locus genotypes observed for earthworms from each site, with as many as 45 individuals with the identical genotype at one site. However, the earthworms were also genetically diverse, with 14 genotypes observed for A. tokioensis and 54 for A. agrestis , and with many singleton genotypes (a single individual). Most genotypes (71% for A. tokioensis and 92% for A. agrestis ) were found at a single site. The greatest number of genotypes was found at a commercial nursery where fully 23/26 A. agrestis earthworms were singleton genotypes. As expected for the pattern of private clone alleles at sites, several measures of geographic genetic differentiation were positive, and as expected for triploid systems, an AMOVA analysis showed high within-individual genetic diversity. The paradox of clear clonal reproduction, but with a great number of genotypes for each species, and the mix of triploid and diploid individuals could be explained if the worms have been sexually reproductive, with the switch to the uniparental system only recently (or even if sexual reproduction is episodic). Last, a large number of microsatellite loci were recovered for each species and there sequence and suggested PCR primers are provided for free use by other researchers.
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Background Invasive species cause enormous costs of over $120 billion to the U.S. economy. Among biological invasions, the invasion by pheretimoid earthworms has gone relatively unnoticed and their invasion imposes yet unknown damage on USA agriculture and horticulture. The main dispersal is with horticultural goods such as plant material and composts. Pheretimoids affect commercially important hardwood forest. With no chemical agents currently certified for earthworm control nor any best horticultural practices, slowing the invasion is difficult. Methods In this study we measured the efficacy of a commercial entomopathogenic fungal isolate of B. bassiana (BotaniGard ® ) to kill pheretimoid earthworms under greenhouse conditions. Four treatments of B. bassiana were applied: The commercial product as per label, re-cultured commercial B. bassiana , 15 g and 25 g millet grains mycotized with recultured product. In all, three bioassays were conducted in 2 consecutive years with two batches of BotaniGard ® . Results With fresh batches, all B. bassiana treatments with re-cultured product resulted in greater than 70% mortality within 4 weeks. Mortality was less than 60% when BotaniGard ® was used as prescribed by the label. When using 1-year old spores (refrigerated at 4 °C), mortality rates for B. bassiana treatments were less than 20% and not significantly different from the controls. However, B. bassiana still affected the earthworms by slowing their development from juvenile to adult stage. Conclusion B. bassiana was effective against pheretimoid earthworms. Overall, mycotized millet grains did not significantly increase mortality over the re-cultured, directly applied B. bassiana spores. More experimentation is needed to find the mode of action of the re-cultured B. bassiana before investigating ways to improve the efficacy of B. bassiana when applied as prescribed on the label.