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"Earthworm invasion"

(16 Posts)
Bags Mon 24-Sep-12 12:32:06

The Woodland Trust and the BBC are apparently calling earthworm adaptation to deforestation an 'invasion' of alien earthworms.

Humans cut down forests and so create a new kind of environment for the local flora and fauna, some of which then take advantage of the new habitat 'niches' made a by another animal (that's us). But let's blame the earthworms instead.


whitewave Mon 24-Sep-12 12:33:13

same as the badgers

whitewave Mon 24-Sep-12 12:41:26

although thinking about it don't badgers eat earthworms? So if we do have an invasion it makes absolute sense to slaughter the badgers doesn't it?

Bags Mon 24-Sep-12 12:43:03

Oh yeah, we introduced the alien European earthworms to the rest of the world. By accident and because of ignorance, so a forgiveable thing to do really, given that we are part of the planet's ecosystem, part of nature, though we seem to keep forgetting this fact. It's not our fault we're here. We can hardly be blamed that we've been so successful as a species. I wonder if the dinosaurs had constantly guilty consciences, or whether they just got on with life until they were obliterated by Mother Nature.

I wonder if we'd mind so much if, by chance, another animal than us carried an 'alien' animal or seed to another continent? I'm sure it has happened. And then what happens? Nature adapts.

Yes, I know I'm sending out a confused message. That's because I'm confused by the constantly ringing alarm bells.

Bags Mon 24-Sep-12 12:43:39

Nice thought, whitewave! I like it! smile

FlicketyB Mon 24-Sep-12 16:14:19

I thought earth worms were a good thing. Gardening experts are always telling us that we can judge the quality of the soil by the number of earthworms, The more the earthworms the better the soil.

Bags Mon 24-Sep-12 16:20:55

I think they are, flickety, but the 'complaint' in the article is about European and Asian earthworms 'invading' the USA. They didn't, of course. They were transported inadvertently in the soil of plants the European settlers took, and in the ballast of boats (or some such). They then took advantage of their new environment, as any lusty life form will.

My 'confusion' has now narrowed itself down to annoyance at the emotive language used by the Woodland Trust and the BBC. They could have told the story without words like "invasion" and phrases like "it's not all bad."

Wish they'd just tell the plain facts in an unemotional, scientific way. It's not as if such things haven't happened without our help.

FlicketyB Mon 24-Sep-12 17:07:33

I thought we also had 'alien' worms in the UK that came in with soil around pot plants and the like.

jeni Mon 24-Sep-12 18:07:49

I'm sure I've read that too!

Ana Mon 24-Sep-12 18:25:27

Good title for a horror film, anyway! grin

whitewave Mon 24-Sep-12 19:46:28

They are called flat worms I think and come from NZ. We are supposed to destroy them on sight. Oh dear! another human cock up

FlicketyB Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:27

But surely almost all flora and fauna invasions are facilitated by some transporter. I believe when new islands have been formed, usually by volcanic eruptons, scientists have carefully monitored, what starts to grow/breed on the island and it is amazing just how many species of plants, birds and insects arrive by sea, by wind and by birds and how quickly they spread

whitewave Mon 24-Sep-12 19:53:36

Be a bit difficult for the worms to come to the UK without our assistance though

Ana Mon 24-Sep-12 20:24:57

This thread is so funny! (sorry...)

FlicketyB Tue 25-Sep-12 17:06:55

They could use the channel tunnel! And 6,000 years ago there was a land bridge between Britain and Europe.

Bags Tue 25-Sep-12 17:19:02

flickety's right. We aren't the only transporters. Birds are very good at it, via their droppings, plus the fur of animals, and so on. If you want to have a real guilt fest, you should never wear shoes or jackets with velcro because tiny seeds and bacteria attach and get moved around. So shocking (not).