like many people i'm sure you think of
worms as what they do down below or at
the surface of the soil. a few people might
think of them as living in the leaf piles
and in parts of logs that are decaying or
other piles of rotting organic materials.
which at least is perhaps a few inches above
then there comes the part of worm life
that takes place above ground, often enough
four or more inches above ground.
i'm not sure exactly why they do it, but
it is likely a new territory searching aspect
where they will crawl up the sides of things.
at night mostly. also the time of mating and
wandering for several species, and the time
of a lot of activity near the mouths of their
burrows for the night crawlers (who don't tend
to wander from their burrows much at all).
the thought came to me last night that they
also are spreading their preferred bacterial
species around and innoculating plants above
ground with these. in effect creating a
beneficial micro climate with some of their
an interesting side thought as it shows how
one rather small and mostly ignored organism
can have such large effects over a part of
their environment that we might not normally
consider a part of their domain.
Since the worms passageways channel air, and water, why would they
expose themselves to predators, when the plants roots will find their
way to the passageways and the bacteria? I thought the worms bacteria
did its work in the worms intestine. Why would the worm want to spread
it? What's the advantage to the worm?
i really don't know why they crawl upwards
as far as they do. i'm guessing it is a new
territory seeking behavior or a finding new
mating partner behavior (both do vary by
species). it's the byproduct of that behavior
that i find interesting and caused me to write
a note. that it does mean they are spreading
their bacterial gut buddies around the zone
above the one we normally think of them as
inhabiting. i wouldn't be surprised to find
out they are also spreading fungi and other
it may be that the behavior is actually
driven in some manner by the bacteria much
as some human behaviors are driven by gut
bacterial colonies (and the dysfunctions
that can happen with them). so there might
not be a direct benefit to the worm as much
as it is acting as an agent for the bacteria
to get it spread around.
we are certainly the agent for some plant
species spreading and of course we take our own
bacterial colonies along with us too as a result.
it might not be a far stretch to say that some
new territory seeking behaviors or the travel bug
drives in people might be the result of a long
association with bacteria. if the home turf
gets too contaminated then there are some who
will move on. thus space travel might be an
urge at heart derived from bacterial nudgings.
that's leverage for ya. starting with methane
and ending up with ... well, we don't quite
know where it ends yet. ha.
My Dad and and used to go to the local school at night during a rain
storm. We would drive two metal copper spikes in the sandy ground about
6 feet apart which we connected to a car battery. This caused the
night crawlers to come to the surface. We are talking 10 inch guys.
hey, there you are! welcome back. :)
for the worm farm bins here i can go scratch
the edge of the ones that have nightcrawlers
with my fingernail and they'll surface. quite
quickly. the first time i did it by accident
(i was trying to get a piece of protruding
plastic off the edge of the lip so it wouldn't
snag the cover any more) it surprised me at
how fast they came up and completely out of
their burrow (not a common action).
That is all very interesting, but what evidence do you have to support
your assertion? Do you have any websites that I could access, that
explain why nature would ask of a bacteria to be able to survive in two
entirely different niches?
We all, of course, are entitled to our own opinions, just not our own
It was about 70F here, on the other side of the hill, today. Rain fall
is at 50%. Nice while it lasts.
Work is slowin' down.
Time to get out in the yard again.
bacterial spores are not answer enough?
or do you mean actually growing and
dividing? a bacteria will go on growing if
it has nutrients, water and space. is the
space provided in the gut of a worm significantly
different than the space provided in the crotch
of a branch or wedge between two rocks, or pile
of leaves? if the numbers of surviving
bacteria to spread from one area to the next is
only a few then the transfer has succeeded.
bacterial spores survive for long periods of
time in various environments. that is why it is
so hard to completely sterilize an environment
some supposedly have been cultured from 10,000yr
old samples taken from the gut of a bog preserved
mastodon. also supposedly there is a claim that
they have been cultured from amber from the gut
of imbedded insects. i cannot verify the second
claim, but the first seems to be quite valid.
that is the joy of science and exploration
after all, that if the observations pan out
and are verified then you've made a contribution
to knowlege. the opinion can be founded upon
evidence or a hunch that is more intuitive
summation of many observations, but to actually
figure out if it is a fact is the challenge.
however, in the case of bacteria influencing
the host organism, changing behavior, even down
to the level of virus, prion and such is quite
well documented already. a mad cow can do things
a regular cow would not do. a mad human
likewise. syphillis, is quite a clear example
of one bacterial derangement in humans. i like
how the word "range" is included in that word.
it snowed here yesterday. this week's
forecast is mostly in the mid-40sF. this
has not really been much of a winter for
us. plenty of rain though so i am not
worried about drought. we've had a number
of thunderstorms and for me to hear those
in the middle of winter (Dec, Jan) used
to be rare. the past eight years they've
become pretty much an every year thing now.
the large number of freeze-thaw cycles
might be the most trouble from this, but
from what i can see now the plants look
the propane tank is finally low enough
to make a refill worth it. that should
get us through the rest of the heating
season. i was hoping we could get to Feb.
i might get out this week sometime to
pick up wood from the power company tree
contractors clearing the power line. we
use it to make berms. we've tried to
encourage them to dump loads of wood
chips for us, but the soft ground is
causing them to get stuck other places
and they are leery. dang. 40yds of
free wood chips would be very nice to
have on hand.
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