Yes, it’s time for the climate change (non-) story of the week. Worms are on the move, apparently. Fed up with their life in France (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be?), worms are moving to Dublin. And it’s all due to “climate change”, or perhaps, the urban heat island effect? Or maybe they just prefer Guinness to Grenache:
Scientists have discovered a thriving population of Mediterranean earthworms in an urban farm in Dublin, Ireland.
The findings by University College Dublin scientists published in the journal Biology Letters suggest that rising soil temperatures due to climate change may be extending the geographical habitat range of the earthworm Prosellodrilus amplisetosus.
“Soil decomposer species including earthworms are frequently introduced into non-native soils by human activities like the transportation of nursery plants or live fish bait,” says Dr Olaf Schmidt from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, and the Earth Institute, University College Dublin, one of the authors of the report.
“There have been a few recordings of the earthworm P. amplisetosus outside of its native range in the Aquitaine region of south-western France, but now we have discovered a successfully thriving population in Ireland, about 1,000 km north of its native habitat.”
Urban farms have higher temperatures than rural farms so the scientists suggest that this may have helped P. amplisetosusto becomeestablished in this new location. The mean yearly air temperature in Aquitaine in south-western France is about 3 degrees higher than in Dublin, Ireland.
The finding brings to 27 the total number of known earthworm species living in Irish soils. (source)
The last piece of information very handy for that old favourite of the trivia night, “How many species of earthworm live in Irish soils?” Now you’ll never be stuck for an answer.
Top o’ the mornin’ to yer…!