Heads up my fellow Texans: from Dallas, TX to El Paso, TX, experts predict that a destructive type of jumping worm is making its way to The Lone Star State.

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Some headlines are just so weird they make you stop and ask yourself what the heck is even happening these days? At the same time, when we get so used to bizarre headlines, you may be at the point where you're not even really all that surprised.

Aren't invading earthbound worms concerning enough? Do we have to contend with the idea that JUMPING worms are heading our way here in Texas? Apparently so.

So what's up with these soon-to-be invading jumping worms?

All 'jokes' aside, worms aren't typically something we have to worry about all too often. Some worms can help aerate the ground or make excellent bait when we're going fishing. But these jumping worms aren't going to be doing any of us any favors.

According to TexasInvasives.org, "Jumping worms have earned this common name because they will thrash around like angry snakes when moved. Unlike our European naturalized earthworms (Lumbricus spp.) that mill through the dirt and excrete nutrients back into the soil after digestion; these invasive jumping worms consume all organic matter and leave no nutrients for the plants."

I'm sorry, did that read "thrash about like angry snakes when moved?"

Yes. Yes, it did. (runs away screaming.)

Wait, don't these look a bit like the common earthworms we see all the time in Texas?

'Jumping Worms,' or Amynthas Agrestis, Wikimedia Commons
'Jumping Worms,' or Amynthas Agrestis, Wikimedia Commons

A little bit. There are differences to look for. TexasInvasives.org differentiates them this way:

"All earthworms have a collar-like structure called a clitellum which is present near their head, but invasive Jumping Worms have a white clitellum that fully encircles the worm and is flush with the worm body.


For European Earthworms the clitellum is pink, only partially covers the worm and is raised like a saddle. Invasive jumping worms are also dry and smooth and not slimy and floppy like European earthworms."


It's important to recognize the difference between our common earthworms and this invasive species heading our way. One can be quite beneficial. The other, not so much. Not to mention seeing jumping worms thrashing about like snakes just isn't the nightmare we need right now.

Or ever.

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