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

Eiseniella tetraedra (Savigny, 1826)
Earthworm; Square-Tail Worm
Family: Lumbricidae

Photo of species

© Earthworm Research Group University of Lancashire  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10754)

Earthworm distribution in BC
Distribution of Eiseniella tetraedra 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 for it: “Length, 30-50 mm (generally <35mm), diameter 3-5 mm, segment number 70-100, prostomium tanylobic, first dorsal pore 5/6-8/9. Clitellum xxviii-xxxiii. Tubercula pubertatis xxix-xxxii. Setae closely paired, AABC, AB > CD, DD ≅ ½ C anteriorly and DD < ½C posteriorly. Setae a and b on ix and/or x on pale genital tumescences fused ventrally. Male pores inconspicuous on xv. Seminal vesicles, three pairs in 9, 11 and 12 + 13. Spermathecae, two pairs with short ducts in 9/10 and 10/11. Colour, deeply pigmented with dark red, chestnut, violet brown and strongly iridescent. 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) indicates: “Under favourable conditions activity can be year round...Aestivation involves immobility and tight coiling in a small mucus-lined cavity; whether hibernation involves quiescence or diapause is not known. This species is obligatorily parthenogenetic (Muldal, 1952; Omodeo, 1955b; Reynolds, 1974c). The first reports of uniparental reproduction for megadriles involved experiments with [this species] (Gavrilov, 1935, 1939).”


This species is reported from streams and under red cedar (Marshall and Fender 2007). Reynolds (1977) provides the following habitat information: “[This species] is a limicolous species and shows a marked preference for damp habitats. It is known from wells, springs, subterranean waters, rivers, ponds, lakes and canals, and maybe one of the dominant animals in the dense moss of swift streams (Gates, 1972c). In Ohio it has been recorded for soils with a pH range of 6.8-8.5, a moisture content of 25-35%, and an organic matter content of 4-5%. It is the most common megadrile in British caves and is known from caves in the rest of Europe and in South Africa. Olson (1928, 1936) and Eaton (1942) reported this species from water-soaked banks of streams and lake shores, from bottom lands subject to flooding, or with high water table, and from seepage areas around springs at upland sites. The soil types for these sites varied from peaty organic material to sandy gravel.”


Global Range

Reynolds (1977) says: “A native of Palaearctis,[this species] is now known from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australasia. It also occurs in Iceland (Backlund, 1949). Reynolds and Wetzel (2008) report it from Mexico, Canada and the US. It is another cosmopolitan species that has been carried around the world.” In the US, it is reported from AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008).
Canadian and BC Range

In Canada reported from BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, PQ (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008). In BC, it has been reported from Nanaimo, from west of Agassiz, from w. of Douglas Peak and from Westham Island (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: 2023-06-04 1:24:09 AM]
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