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Jumping worms

Quick facts

Jumping worms are an invasive species. 

  • As their name implies, they jump, wiggle and are very active.
  • Jumping worms live in the leaf litter and the top few inches of soil on the forest floor.
  • They change the soil texture to appear like coffee grounds, strip the soil of nutrients and can kill plants.
  • Prevention is the only known way to manage them.
  • Jumping worms should be disposed of in the garbage. Do not release them into the environment.

Jumping worms should be reported. Learn how to report invasive species in Minnesota.

Why be concerned about jumping worms?

slithering worm on white table.

Jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are an invasive species native to eastern Asia. In fact, no earthworms are native to Minnesota.

Jumping worms contribute to major forest ecosystem disturbance and are also troublesome for homeowners and gardeners. They negatively impact soil structure and reduce plant growth.

Earthworms, including jumping worms, are ecosystem engineers. By changing soil characteristics, they contribute to a number of other ecosystem shifts that may ultimately increase allergies and Lyme disease, reduce crop and forest productivity, and reduce forest biodiversity.

Like all earthworms, there are no research-based management options, so preventing their introduction and reducing their spread are the only two proven forms of management.

Jumping worms in Minnesota

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Get involved

Research is moving forward on understanding jumping worms and developing ways to manage them in a yard and garden setting. Share information on jumping worms with your friends and neighbors, get involved with local gardening groups, and let researchers and agencies know about changes you see in the number of jumping worms over time.

If you'd like to ask a question or report a situation that many may experience please fill out this online form.

Angela Gupta, Extension educator; Laura Van Riper, MN Department of Natural Resources

Reviewed in 2019

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