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Octolasion cyaneum (Savigny, 1826)
Earthworm; Woodland Blue Worm
Family: Lumbricidae


© Earthworm Research Group University of Lancashire     (Photo ID #10723)


Earthworm distribution in BC
Distribution of Octolasion cyaneum 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.


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.

Species Information

This is an introduced European species of earthworm. Reynolds (1977) provides the following description for it: “Length 65-180 mm, diameter 7-8 mm, segment number 140-158, prostomium epilobic, first dorsal pore 11/12 or 12/13. Clitellum xxix-xxxiv. Tubercula pubertatis xxx-xxxiii. Setae closely paired anteriorly, CD<AB<BC<AA<DD, and widely paired posteriorly, AB>BC>CD. Setae of x, xviii, xix, xx, xxi frequently on white genital tumescences. Males pores on xv with well-defined narrow papillae. Seminal vesicles, four pairs in 9-12, with the pairs in 11 and 12 larger than the pairs in 9 and 10. Spermathecae, two pairs opening between c and d in 9/10 and 10/11. Body cylindrical but octagonal posteriorly. Colour, blue-grey or whitish.”

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: “Activity may be year round but in central Maine summer drought and winter freezing imposes two periods of inactivity (Gates 1972c), and this is probably the case in Ontario. In experimental studies casting was below ground but occasional surface casting has been reported (Gates, 1972c). [This species] is obligatorily parthenogenetic (Reynolds, 1974); copulation has not been recorded and may never have been observed (Gates 1972c). This species is relatively rare in North America and is of little or no economic importance.”


Reynolds (1977) provides the following habitat information for this species: “This species is known from soils of pH 5.2-8.0 and may well be ubiquitous with respect to this factor. Gates (1972c) records it from under stones in water, in moss, stream banks, and other limnic habitats. It is known also from ploughed fields, wet sand, forest soils, and from caves in Europe. Cernosvitov and Evans (1947) reported it mostly from under stones and occasionally under moss. Gates (1973a) found the species under logs and under rocks near stream beds. Under logs and rocks was the most common site in Ontario.”


Global Range

Reynolds (1977) says: “A native of Palaearctis, [this species] is now known from Europe, Iceland, North America, South America, India, Azores, and Australasia (Gates, 1972c).” Reynolds and Wetzel 2008 report it from Mexico, Canada and the US. In the US, it is reported from CA, CO, GA, IjA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MS, NC, NY, OR, PA, SC, TN, VA, WA, WI (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008).
Canadian and BC Range

This species has been reported in Canada from BC, NS, ON, PQ (Reynolds and Wetzel 2008). In BC, it is primarily found in the southwestern part of the province, on Vancouver Island and adjacent islands, and in the lower Fraser Valley, with one collection from Prince Rupert. It has also been collected from Vancouver, Westham Island, Thetis Lake, and Demnman Island (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.

General References