Worms, Pacific Northwest
The Red Wiggler Worm is also known as red worms. They live in the top 25 cm of the soil, thus making them epigeic earthworms. These worms do not burrow, are non-migratory and they require oxygen to survive. They live for about one year. Red wigglers feed on decaying organic matter. In fact, for millions of years they have been busy making natural fertilizer.
Red worms are hermaphroditic, which means that they have both sexes, but they still need to mate with other worms. Mating can occur at any time of the year. Red worms lay one egg every seven days. From this one egg, three to four earthworms will hatch. When an earthworm is hatched, it is whitish with a pink tinge and the blood vessels can be seen. It will take about three months to reach maturity.
Earthworms have small mouths so they only eat small pieces of food. The food must first be softened by microorganisms before a worm will eat it. When a worm eats these small particles of food, it has to be mixed with a grinding material that helps grind up the food in its gizzard. Grinding material might be sand, topsoil or even limestone. The gizzard compresses the food particles and grinding material it is then mixed with fluid and ground into small pieces for ingestion. Worm castings are undigested material that includes bacterial and plant residues, as well as the sand and soil. These worm castings are passed out of the worm.