Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Worms Go In, the Worms Go Out

The girls were chalking on the sidewalk this morning, while I was pulling some weeds in the front yard when a few earthworms* and two grubs (Cyclocephala ?) came up with the clump of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). After squishing the grubs, I picked up a worm and took it over to the girls.

Celeste ran up on to the porch, which isn't really a surprise. Her first instinct is to move away quickly from most animals and other things that aren't dogs. Quinlan, however, overcame her sister-induced fear and came over to take a look.

She got a bit giggly about the dirt that was all over the worm, and how it was twisting and then moving along my hand. Celeste eventually came over to look, but Quinn was the only one who would touch it. It took a little while, but she finally let me put the worm in her hand.

Quinn and the Worm 1Quinn and the Worm 2

We put the worm back in the soil and a few minutes later, Quinn was back looking for it and wanting to hold it again. (She also was convinced the first worm had been a boy and this time she wanted to see a girl worm; I passed on trying to explain hermaphrodism to her.) After the third time holding a worm, I suggested to her that the worms probably wanted to get back to digging in the yard ... and it was time to go in for a snack.

*I'm not putting a scientific name for earthworm here because I have no idea what family of Lumbricina the individual worms in question were, much less their species. In googling around to see which species were common to suburban Maryland, however, I found out that the vast majority of earthworms in North America are non-native invasives. I had no idea. One fairly recent study of worms in the Baltimore–Washington suburbs found that most of them were non-native; another study found that only three of the 12 species present were native.

1 comment:

Pille said...

Oh, worms. I'm not a great fan of them, but luckily children don't know to be scared of them :) I grew up in a house with a garden (and worms), so not sure where and when I began to dislike them..

PS Thank you so much for popping by in February and congratulating us on the birth of our baby girl. She's doing very well, is already weighing 6 kg. We've named her Nora, and she's a real sweetie :)