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

Lumbricus castaneus (Savigny, 1826)
Chestnut Worm; Earthworm
Family: Lumbricidae

Photo of species

© Earthworm Research Group University of Lancashire  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10674)

Earthworm distribution in BC
Distribution of Lumbricus castaneus 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 < ½ C 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: “In unfavourable seasons individuals may be found 1 to 1 ½ metres down in the soil, but little is known of the annual cycle. Copulation, which may not involve secretion of a slime tube, is subterranean. This species is obligatorily amphimictic (Reynolds 1974c). Janda and Gavrilov (1939) report no evidence of cocoons in isolated individuals.


This species is reported from garden soil (Marshal and Fender 2007). Reynolds (1977) provides the following habitat information: “[This species] has been recorded from soils with a pH range of 4.6-8.0, from gardens, cultivated fields, pastures, forests, taiga, steppes, among organic matter such as manure and compost or leaf litter, and in banks by water (Gates 1972c). It has been found in caves in Europe. Gerard (1964) reported it as terrestrial, mostly in soil rich in organic matter, in gardens, parks, pastures, forests, on river and marsh banks, and under stones, leaves and dung. In Ontario [it] was collected from a stream bank (Reynolds 1972a) and Judd (1964) obtained his specimens from the Byron Bog [acid peat bog] near London.”


Global Range

Reynolds (1977) says: “A native of Palaearctis, [this species] is known from Europe, North America including Mexico, New Zealand, and St. Helena (Reynolds 1977). It also occurs in Iceland (Backlund, 1949).” In the US, it is reported from AK, CT, DE, ID, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, VA, VT, WA, WV (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008).
Canadian and BC Range

In Canada this species is reported from BC, NB, NF, ON, PE, PQ (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008). In British Columbia, it has been reported from Burnaby and Victoria (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: 2022-08-09 9:48:58 AM]
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