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Nature In Buckets - Saving plastic buckets from dumpsters and landfills. A concept for the community of Kincardine and Bruce Country, Ontario, Canada by the Agro-Ecology Council - Save Eath Save Lives Int'l (NGO)

 

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A worm that is our enemy ! - ("Esser (1981) discussed land planarians in Florida. He stated that in almost every month of the year specimens of grey to brown long flat worms with several dark stripes running down the back were submitted to the Nematology Bureau for identification and information concerning their biology.")

 
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These worms were land planarians included in the phylum Platyhelminthes. Almost all specimens submitted belonged to the genus Bipalium.

The land planarian Bipalium kewense Moseley was first described from a greenhouse at Kew Botanical Gardens near London, England, in 1878. This species is believed to be native to Indo-China, and has been found commonly in American greenhouses since 1901.

Common name: land planarians

Scientific name: Bipalium kewense Moseley and Dolichoplana striata Moseley (Tricladida: Terricola)

Esser (1981) discussed land planarians in Florida. He stated that in almost every month of the year specimens of grey to brown long flat worms with several dark stripes running down the back were submitted to the Nematology Bureau for identification and information concerning their biology.

Life History

Reproduction and Development:  Reproduction is principally by fragmentation at the posterior end. Lateral margins pinch in about 1 cm from the tail tip. Severance occurs when the posterior fragment adheres to the substrate and the parent worm pulls away. The posterior fragment is motile immediately, and within seven to 10 days a lightly pigmented head begins to form. One to two fragments are released each month. 
Eggs are deposited in 0.6 to 9.7 cm cocoons that are bright red when deposited. Within 24 hours the cocoons turn black. Planarians emerge in approximately 21 days.

Habitat: Because land planarians are photo-negative during daylight hours and require high humidity, they are found in dark, cool, moist areas under objects such as rocks, logs, in debris, or under shrubs, and on the soil surface following heavy rains. Land planarians are also found in caves, but are rare in rural sites. Movement and feeding occur at night. High humidity is essential to survival. They can survive desiccation only if water loss does not exceed 45 percent of their body weight. Land planarians are most abundant in spring and fall. 
Dundee and Dundee (1963) reported B. kewense as being plentiful enough in New Orleans to be used as demonstration material in zoology classes.

Locomotion: Land planarians glide smoothly on the substrate by the action of powerful, closely spaced cilia in a special medial ventral strip (creeping sole), on a thin coat of mucus secreted on the substrate by glands opening into the creeping sole. Land planarians that migrate on plants or objects above the ground sometimes regain the ground by lowering themselves down by a string of mucus.

Nutrition: Land planarians devour earthworms, slugs, insect larvae, and are cannibalistic. Prey are located by chemoreceptors located in a single ciliated pit under the head or in a ciliated ventral groove. Struggling prey are held to the substrate and entangled in slimy secretions from the planarian. The pharynx is protruded from the mouth and into the prey. Food is reduced to small particles prior to entering the gastro vascular cavity. The food particles are taken by epithelial cells in amoeboid fashion and formed into food vacuoles. Planaria store food in digestive epithelium and can survive many weeks shrinking slowly in size without feeding. They are capable of utilizing their own tissues such as reproductive tissue for food when reserves are exhausted.

Planarian attacking earthworm. A. Planarian B. Earthworm. (From Esser 1981).

Planarian Enemies: Other animals rarely devour land planarians, since surface secretions appear distasteful, if not toxic. Protozoans, including flagellates, ciliates, sporozoans, and nematodes have been detected in land planarians. Because of their cannibalistic habit, land planarians may be their own worst enemy.

Economic Importance: Planarians are voracious predators on earthworms, and two species, B. kewense and Dolichoplana striata Moseley, have been reported as nuisances in the southern USA in earthworm rearing beds. (Hyman 1954; Dunn, personal observation 1997) Two additional flatworm species, Artioposthia triangulata and Geoplana sanguinea, were accidentally imported to Ireland and England. They were reported as being capable of eradicating entire earthworm populations on farms. In greenhouses, although some collectors believe they might damage plants, they are considered harmless.

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This captivating video zeroes in on the tiny organisms often seen but rarely identified in a worm bin. Under Warren's microscope, well-lit colorful, and in focus, busy little creatures such as springtails and mites amuse and entertain as they busily go about in search of food or shelter. Concise, interesting, and informative narration makes this video not only fun to watch, but another excellent teaching tool for all ages.

 

  Three creative educators collaborated to produce this guide for classroom and home. Centered around a classroom worm bin, this curriculum uses over 150 worm-related activities to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills in children grades 4-8. Rich in content in "Wormformation" paragraphs integrates science, mathematics, language arts, biology, solid waste issues, ecology, and the environment in ways that draw children into the learning process. Three sections include "The World of Worms," "Worms at Work," and "Beyond the Bin." Includes 16 appendices, resource materials, teacher's guidelines, bibliography, glossary, and index. User has permission to photocopy for use in the classroom
     

  Worms are the latest (as well as, of course, perhaps the oldest!) trend in earth-friendly gardening, and in this handy guide, the authors of DEAD SNAILS LEAVE NO TRAILS demystify the world of worm wrangling, with everything you need to know to build your own worm bin, make your garden worm-friendly, pamper your soil, and much much more.
     

  Three creative educators collaborated to produce this guide for classroom and home. Centered around a classroom worm bin, this curriculum uses over 150 worm-related activities to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills in children grades 4-8. Rich in content in "Wormformation" paragraphs integrates science, mathematics, language arts, biology, solid waste issues, ecology, and the environment in ways that draw children into the learning process. Three sections include "The World of Worms," "Worms at Work," and "Beyond the Bin." Includes 16 appendicies, resource materials, teacher's guidelines, bibliography, glossary, and index. User has permission to photocopy for use in the classroom.
 
 

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  The Vermiculture Online Resource Guide is a project of The Agro-Ecology Council (Save Earth Save Lives Int'l). A registered non-government, non-stock and non-profitpeople's organization for environmental concerns.
source:   Vermiculture Canada -
http://www.vermicanada.com

    

 
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