An earthworm that is typically used for vermicomposting lives and dies on the ground. It’s basically how things go for them. They spend their whole lives thriving amidst organic scraps, producing valuable castings, and also producing offspring. And since they need to breed to multiply, they turn to their own kind for reproduction purposes. Earthworms are born hermaphrodites; and it basically means that earthworms are born with both male and female reproductive organs. Eventhough earthworms produce both sperm and eggs, it still needs another worm to be able to breed, produce offspring and lay eggs. This is how an earthworm life cycle begins.
The life cycle for earthworms start when they find a mate to reproduce with. You’ll know that your Red Wigglers are mating should you observe them on top of each other, while being wrapped inside a mucus-like substance. And as soon as they’re protected by this, they will now start to exchange sperm into one another. From here on, the sperm and the eggs will then begin to develop (fertilization will then occur inside each worms bodies).
During this breeding process, a thick ring of slime will then be observed forming around each of the red worms‘ bodies. And when the earthworms are finally seen wiggling forward, it only means that they are already in the process of laying eggs on the ground. Rings of earthworm eggs that emerge out of the worms bodies will turn into a cocoon. These protective shells are then hidden beneath the ground, and will also serve as a defensive shield for the growing worm inside the egg.
You’ll only have to wait two weeks of incubation for these eggs to start hatching (if the weather surrounding it is warm). Give these eggs about 3 months to hatch completely if they’re bound in a cold environment. This usually happens during the fall and winter seasons. Aside from these facts, a worm egg may also contain one to two newly hatched earthworms; and they start out with a body length of 12 millimeters long. The newborns will hatch from their eggs without any reproductive organs yet; but they can already start mating as early as 12 months old (as their reproductive organs have already developed by this time).
Adult worm composting earthworms can measure at an average of 1 foot long, some even growing up to 20 feet. The average lifespan of an adult earthworm may take up to 4 to 8 years, and may even reach up to 10 years. They may be able to live this long should they be well taken cared of. A worm may stay alive for 10 years should it be protected from unwanted visitors. And if things become unfortunate, then the earthworm life cycle ends completely.
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