Red wiggler worm identification. What red wiggler worms look like.

Written by Matthew on September 9th, 2013

red-wigglers-detailThis post is part of a series on worm identification. Click here to see first page.

Eisenia fetida is the common red wiggler. It is the most common worm sold for composting.

Physical description of red wiggler

It is smaller is size 3-4 inches long is average length for an adult red wiggler worm. They have alternating bands of darker and lighter red. This coloration is lighter between the bands. They have a slightly flat bottom. with the rest of the body being round. The tail is sometimes a lighter color often with a yellow tip. This coloration comes and goes depending upon what they are fed.

Red wiggler live cycle and characteristics

The red wiggler worm is great for composting for many reasons

  • It likes to stay put
  • Reproduces fast
  • Not picky about temperature
  • Not picky about food
  • Adapts to change of environment quickly
  • Consumes food at a fast rate
  • Stays near surface
  • The red wiggler prefers temperatures around 70 F
  • Lays small egg cocoons pictured above. Each cocoon can hatch 3-4 live worms in about 30 days. Adult worms can lay one or two cocoons per week.
  • It takes about 45 days for the red wiggler to reach sexual maturity
  • Each worm is hermaphroditic

Eisenia fetida

Eisenia fetida


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Donald Holton Sr. says:

    What is the difference between a “red worm” and a “red wiggler”?
    Are the beds prepared the same way and do you use the same type bedding material?

  2. Matthew says:

    I get asked that a lot. Here is my standard form answer;

    Red wigglers are a type of red worm. There and many different types of red worms the most common are the red wiggler and the european red worm.

    The red wigglers are small. They are about 2-3 inches long and about 1/8 inch in diameter. The european red worm is larger. About 3-4 inches long and about the diameter of a pencil. Due to their size the euro is preferred for fishing. Due to its fast breeding and hardiness the red wiggler is preferred for composting.

    Euros run about 350 per pound and the red wigglers run about 900 worms per pound.

    Both worms will eat about their weight every week.

    You can grow both worms together. Both worms can survive in temperatures between 32 and 100F. The red wigglers do best at about 70 and the euros at about 65.

    Euros seem to do a little better in the garden usually.

    Same bedding will work for either. Coco coir and peat moss are both excellent bedding.

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