Worm grunting mystery solved

By | October 21, 2008

Earth wormsIt sounds a little like snake charming. You drive a wooden stake into the ground and draw a flat metal rod across the top, creating an bullfrog-like grunting sound. Within minutes, hundreds of earthworms come to the surface, where they meet their doom in the buckets of fishing bait collectors.

Now, researcher Ken Catania of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. has an explanation for the worms’ hightailing it to the surface: Worm grunting mimics the vibrations made by burrowing moles, a voracious worm predator.

Catania, who studies moles, had read Charles Darwin’s statement in a book he wrote on worms: “It has often been said that if the ground is beaten or otherwise made to tremble, worms believe that they are pursued by a mole and leave their burrows.” … – msnbc

Worms are not just for fishing. See vermiculture.

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