A reader wrote to us a while back with a simple question: is the earthworm indigenous to the Americas? (Technically, he asked where “earth worms” are from, using two words, but six of one, half a dozen of the other.) Fortunately, we have some familiarity with this topic, and it is actually quite fascinating. In a sense, earthworms are indigenous to the Americas – that is, certain species of earthworm are native to the Americas – but these earthworms no longer exist. The earthworms that we now have are not indigenous to the Americas, but instead came from Europe. This is all a little complicated, so below we provide an overview of where earthworms come from, and also detail the impact that earthworms had upon their arrival to the Americas.
Earthworms don’t actually bite, but their skin can cause major irritation on human skin if contact last more than a few minutes. The irritation is not a result of the actual worm skin but rather the materials that worms pick up as they writhe, wriggle, and borough inside the earth and along the ground.
There are literally thousands of different types of worms on the earth. Some can be found in just about any garden or backyard, while others may be found buried beneath the sand on hundreds of beaches overseas.