British earthworm identification guide and survey

Museum scientists developed an easy-to-use earthworm identification guide in collaboration with Natural England, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Field Studies Council. 

The field guide is helping citizen scientists to answer important questions about the distribution and ecology of earthworms in the UK.

There are more than 25 species of British earthworm. Despite considerable research into earthworm biology in recent decades, many basic questions about their ecology and distribution remain unanswered.

National soil and earthworm survey

The colour field guide allows non-specialists to identify the common species of British earthworms. It is being used to support a national survey developed by the Open Air Laboratories Network (OPAL) and the results will help answer questions like which earthworm species are found in what parts of the country, and which species live in what habitats.

OPAL earthworm survey

Results so far

Over 4,500 people have submitted their results online since the soil and earthworm survey launched in 2009. It is one of seven surveys that OPAL is running across England to learn more about the state of our environment. Find out what's been discovered so far.

Survey results