E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Aporrectodea longa (Ude, 1885)
Blackhead Worm; Earthworm
Family: Lumbricidae

Photo of species

© Earthworm Research Group University of Lancashire  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10707)

Earthworm distribution in BC
Distribution of Aporrectodea longa in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)


The earthworms of British Columbia are a little known faunal group. We would like to thank the Royal Ontario Museum for providing permissions to use extracts, including illustrations, from the following publication in the atlas pages: Reynolds, John W. 1977. The Earthworms (Lumbricidae and Sparganophilidae) of Ontario. Thanks also to John Reynolds for provision of substantial information on earthworms and review of the atlas pages.

Species Information

Click on the image(s) below to view an expanded illustration for this taxon.

Illustration Source: Reynolds, John W. 1977. The Earthworms (Lumbricidae and Sparganophilidae) of Ontario. Life Science Miscellaneous Publications, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

This is an introduced European species of earthworm. Reynolds (1977) provides the following description: “Length 90-150 mm, diameter 6-9 mm, segment number 150-222, prostomium, epilobic, first dorsal pair 12/13. Clitellum xxvii, xxviii-xxxiv, xxxv. Tubercula pubertatis xxxii-xxxiv. Setae closely paired, posteriorly AA:AB:BC:CD = 60:7:28:5; a and b in form of genital setae on genital tumescences in ix, x, xi, xxxi, xxxiii, xxxiv, and sometimes xii. Male pores on xv with elevated glandular borders, sometimes extending to xiv and xvi. Seminal vesicles, four pairs in 9-12, the anterior pairs smaller. Spermathecae, two pairs with short ducts opening on level c in 9/10 and 10/11. Colour, grey or brown with slight iridescence dorsally. Body cylindrical and dorsoventrally flattened posteriorly.”

Source: Reynolds, John W. 1977. The Earthworms (Lumbricidae and Sparganophilidae) of Ontario. Life Science Miscellaneous Publications, Royal Ontario Musuem, Toronto, with permission.


Species Biology

Reynolds (1977) provides the following biological information for this species: “In appropriate circumstances year-round activity is possible. Feeding, which takes place nocturnally on the surface of the soil, seems to be selective and leaves occasionally are dragged into the burrows. Casts are deposited on the surface, and [this species] together with A. nocturna (Evans, 1946), is believed responsible for the surface castings in England that Darwin studied so intensively. This species is obligatorily amphimictic with copulation beneath the soil surface (Gates, 1972a), 1972c, Reynolds, 1974c).” Svendsen and Baker (2002) indicate that this is a deep-burrowing species that “has the potential to colonise pastures in the higher rainfall areas of south-eastern Australia and is being considered for introduction there to improve soil properties and pasture production.”


In Europe this species is reported from a variety of soils ranging in pH from 4.5 to 8.0, where it is found in lawns peat bogs, greenhouses, cultivated soil, gardens, pastures and woodlands, and is reported as abundant in soils bordering rivers and lakes; it is reported from caves (Reynolds 1977). In British Columbia, it has been found under alder, in garden soil, and under old growth Douglas-fir (Marshal and Fender 2007).


Global Range

“A native of Palaearcticis, this species is now known from Europe, North America, Central America, Africa, Australasia, and also now from Iceland” (Reynolds 1977). In the United States, it is reported from AL, CA, CO, CT, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MT, NC, NH, NJ, HY, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, VT (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008).
Canadian and BC Range

This species is reported from BC, NS, NB, ON, PQ (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008). In British Columbia, it is known only from southeastern Vancouver Island where it has been collected from Shawnigan Lake, Victoria, and Thetis Lake (Marshall and Fender 2007). BEC Zones: CDF and CWH (Marshall and Fender 2007).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2022-08-19 10:23:53 AM]
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