Life Cycle of the Eisenia fetida and Dendrobaena veneta Earthworms (Oligohaeta, Lumbricidae)
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College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, 1a Cwiklinskiej St., 35-601 Rzeszow, Poland
Agnieszka Podolak   

Department of the Basis of Agriculture and Waste Management, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Land Management and Environmental Protection, College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, 1a Cwiklinskiej St., 35-601 Rzeszow, Poland
Publication date: 2020-01-01
J. Ecol. Eng. 2020; 21(1):40–45
Earthworms can be used in the vermicomposting process. The success of the process depends on many factors, including the choice of the appropriate earthworm species. Eisenia fetida and Dendrobaena veneta are treated as "compost earthworms". They are characterized by a relatively short life cycle, relatively fast growth rate, efficient reproduction and a similar amount of organic matter processed, compared to species found in the natural environment. However, while analyzing their features in more detail, it can be seen that these two species differ. The aim of this study was to compare the selected features of the Eisenia fetida (Sav.) and Dendrobaena veneta (Rosa) earthworm populations in an annual cycle. The mature specimens of E. fetida or D. veneta were put in groups into plastic boxes with soil. Populations were checked regularly by manual sorting of the medium. The earthworms and cocoons were cleaned, counted and weighed individually. Afterwards, the mature individuals were placed in appropriate containers, while the cocoons were separated from the starting populations. The earthworms were fed ad libidum on kitchen wastes every four weeks. The experiment was carried out under constant laboratory conditions for 52 weeks. The analysis of the studied populations confirmed that the tested species of earthworms differ from each other. After 52 weeks of the experiment, the sum of earthworm biomass was higher for D. veneta compared to E. fetida species (18.568 ± 1.867 g and 7.263 ± 1.786 g; p<0.01, respectively). This relationship was confirmed for the average body weight of earthworms (D. veneta: 0.912 ± 0.046 g; E. fetida 0.480 ± 0.006 g; t = 15.95, p <0.01) and cocoons (D. veneta: 0.032 ± 0.003 g, E. fetida 0.014 ± 0.001 g; t = 9.15, p<0.01).