Life Cycle of Red Wiggler Worms or Eisenia Foetida and Stages

Updated on October 14, 2017
Red Wiggler worm(Eisenia Foetida)
Red Wiggler worm(Eisenia Foetida)

We all know that Red Wiggler worms (Eisenia Foetida) are amongst the most favorite worm specie in worm composting and organic gardening. Let's get to know these amazing little nature's wonders a little bit more as we explore the interesting life cycle of Red Wiggler worms or Eisenia Foetida.

We will discuss the whole life cycle of these worms from Cocoon stage up to its Egg laying stage. Each stage will be briefly covered so we’ll have a better understanding of the life cycle of a Red Wiggler worm or Eisenia Foetida.


Eisenia Foetida Egg
Eisenia Foetida Egg

Cocoon or Egg Stage

Red Wiggler worms' cocoons are much smaller than a grain of rice, lemon-like shaped and it’s yellow-colored. The incubation period of the cocoon is about 23 days. The cocoons will gradually change its color from golden yellow to deep red; much like maroon as 4 to 6 embryonic Red Wiggler worms develop inside. Eisenia Foetida eggs will hatch at a temperature of 65 – 85 degrees.The babies will emerge at least 3-4 weeks.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/3409167144/

Adult Red Wiggler worm with prominent Clitellum
Adult Red Wiggler worm with prominent Clitellum

Mature Stage

The 2nd stage is when a juvenile red wiggler worm or Eisenia Foetida turns into an adult. It takes 40-60 days for the juveniles to develop into an adult or a mature worm. It develops the genital markings clitellum. The clitellum contains their reproductive organ and can only be seen when red wigglers are ready to reproduce. The red wiggler worms or Eisenia Foetida are ready to mate when their clitellums are orange in color.

Baby Worms
Baby Worms

Juvenile Stage

Red wiggler worms or Eisenia Foetida hatches from cocoons. Juveniles are about no more than 1/2 inch, as thick about 4 human hairs and doesn't have any genital markings yet or the clitellum. Once the babies hatch they will already be organic waste eating machines. Ready for Vermicomposting, Juvenile Red Wigglers picked as composting worms for worm composting bins for all soil garden enhancing purposes are as ready as adults worms!


A pair Red Wiggler worms copulating
A pair Red Wiggler worms copulating

Mating Stage

This is the most interesting part of the Red Wiggler worms or Eisenia Foetida's life cycle. We all know that the Eisenia Foetida is a hermaphrodite which means that each worm has both female and male reproductive organs. You might be wondering how they mate? Can one Red Wiggler Composting worms just reproduce by itself? The answer is NO! A Red Wiggler worm still needs another worm to mate. As weather warms up, the worms become sexually active. Worms mate by joining their clitellums together with their heads pointing in opposite directions and exchange sperms. After copulation and long after the worms separate, each worm will secrete the eggs or their cocoons from their clitellum. Once done, the worms then back out from the narrowing cocoons and fertilization takes place. So if you see worms joined together, then you'll know they're already in this stage.

Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia Foetida)
Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia Foetida)

Red Wiggler Worms Activity and Life Span

Aside from their prowess's in worm composting in organic gardening, In the summer, where temperatures warms up- Eisenia Foetida worms becomes very active. Their foraging doubles and mate a lot as well. Contrary to winter season, when the worms slowdown including their metabolism to hibernate for the cold weather. Conditions that these worms hate are Acidic, Saline, dry, hot and well lit environments. When it rains, worms or Red Wiggler worms tend to emerge in the soil's surface. Some believe that this is may be due to worms can't breathe through flooded burrows forcing them to pop up the surface. When Red Wiggler worms feels threaten, they secrete a pungent slippery substance that others believe that it's a form of defense mechanism.


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Wael Ghamian 

        6 months ago

        I understand that in winter, if the wreathed is too cold for red wiggler to survive the season, their cocoons will survive the cold and produce baby red wigglers in spring

      • profile image

        Ben 

        7 months ago

        I have read that in perfect condition they live for 5 years

      • tritrain profile image

        And Drewson 

        8 months ago from United States

        Very nice article! Worms are beneficial in so many ways.

      • profile image

        mowmow 

        14 months ago

        this was very helpful

      • profile image

        cedarwood 

        17 months ago

        thanks helps with a class project

      • profile image

        lebinon 

        17 months ago

        This is helpful for my project

      • profile image

        your mom 

        2 years ago

        My name is jeff

      • profile image

        SoccerBrother 

        2 years ago

        The red worm life cycle is ligit!

      • profile image

        My name is NOOOOOOOOOO 

        2 years ago

        cool

      • profile image

        bob 

        2 years ago

        cool I like worms

      • profile image

        billy bob joe 

        2 years ago

        hi my name is jeff

      • profile image

        tink 

        3 years ago

        hi I was looking for the life expectancy too so I can't help you there but I can tell you answer me and that you are calm posters to dry and probably a little too cool. The white worms are not little red wigglers or another type of worm in your going to want to get rid of them they can actually decimate your worm colony.I put diatomaceous earth in cups around the point where am I then meets the ground and the ants never did come back again after my first invasion again they will also decimate your colony. you may periodically also find gnats in there not really problematic just gross easiest way organically to get them up there was just like fruit on top and dispose of them as they come to the fruit. Hope that helps.

      • profile image

        by'9;7;87 

        4 years ago

        hior;

      • profile image

        dog 

        4 years ago

        cool

      • profile image

        dikasuk 

        5 years ago

        herrrrrrrlllooooo!!!!!!one11111!!!!!!eleven!!!!111

      • profile image

        sukadik 

        5 years ago

        herlloo

      • profile image

        bjk; 

        5 years ago

        so what is the life expectancy?

        but good article

      • profile image

        Ramakrishnareddy 

        5 years ago

        nice documantry sir!!!.......

      • profile image

        BobbieSue 

        5 years ago

        I'm wondering how long it took to find a pair of worms copulating in order to photograph them?

      • profile image

        JC 

        6 years ago

        Thank you all!

      • profile image

        Elaine 

        6 years ago

        I am kind of obsessive about sorting through my compost to save all the eggs and baby worms. Are the tiny white wiggly worms new red wigglers or just another part of the compost life?

      • profile image

        maitai 

        6 years ago

        thought that current thinking is that worms like to come out and and mate when it rains. i've seen worms staay alive for quite some time in straight water

      • profile image

        Trish 

        6 years ago

        All good info but not the answer I was looking for.. I have a worm farm and I think I've killed the worms! I haven't given them any acid stuff .. I did notice ants!?

        I tried all suggestions in the manual that came with the farm

      • profile image

        ??? 

        6 years ago

        Hi this is the life cycle of a red worm very helpful!

      • profile image

        carla schroeder 

        6 years ago

        what is the life expectancy though? Do they live 8 months, a year, 3 years? I didn't see the answer in the post, maybe I just missed it.

      • frankwiggler profile imageAUTHOR

        frankwiggler 

        7 years ago from Spring Grove, PA

        Thanks y'all! you can all link to this hub if you like or want to help me :)

      • clwisehart profile image

        clwisehart 

        7 years ago

        helpful...thanks.

      • profile image

        Allen Metz 

        7 years ago

        Nice article, concise and to the point. I'll look to see if you have any more regarding worms. I am just starting out. My wife has written a HUB about composting and I was interested when your HUB popped up in the search.

        Thanks,

        allen metz

        gofish.bc4h@gmail.com

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)