Bedfordshire Earthworm Records
Until 2017 the National Earthworm Recording Scheme (NERS) held no records of earthworms in Bedfordshire at all, despite Bedfordshire being a county with a great reputation for recording wildlife and a well established natural history society.
Furthermore, earthworms are recognised as an ecologically important group of invertebrates that are crucial to the delivery of many ecosystem services, including decomposition, and providing a vital food source for many vertebrates and other invertebrates.
Since the beginning of this year, records have been submitted by both the Bedfordshire Natural History Society and the Environment Agency. However, this still leaves the Earthworm Society of Britain with just 65 earthworm records for the whole vice county.
The earthworm records that have been submitted are spread throughout the county over 23 tetrads, leaving the majority of Bedfordshire unexplored in terms of earthworm diversity.
Figure 1 (lright): Map of VC30 Bedfordshire showing the location of earthworm records submitted to the NERS and the number of records recorded per tetrad.
Bedfordshire Earthworm Species
In total, 10 species of earthworm have been recorded and only one of these, Dendrobaena veneta, is considered rare in the UK.
It is likely that Bedfordshire is home to more than double this number of species but many rare (and some common) species may not have been recorded due to limited survey efforts across the county.
Bedfordshire (VC30) Earthworm Species Checklist
Figure 2 (left): Map of VC30 Bedfordshire showing the location of earthworm records submitted to the NERS and the number of species recorded per tetrad.
The ESB is working with The Wildlife Trust BCN to tackle the deficit of earthworm records in Bedfordshire and will be delivering an Earthworm Identification Workshop at Flitwick Moor.
The workshop will cover earthworm sampling techniques, identification of earthworms using microscopes and everything attendees need to know to contribute to the National Earthworm Recording Scheme. All attendees will also receive a free printed copy of the new Earthworm Recorder's Handbook!