Biology

Dendrobaena attemsi is a small epigeic earthworm - epigeic worms stay in the top horizons of the soil and feed on dead organic matter.

The worm is often reddish in colour dorsally but loses its colour very quickly when preserved.

Earthworms are hermaphrodites. Whilst some can reproduce parthogenically (without a mate), most reproduce sexually.  

The adult worms possess a clitellum or saddle - a fleshy band that can be seen near the front end of the worm.

When worms mate they pass each other sperm which they store in little sacs called spermathecea.

The clitellum subsequently produces a thick mass of mucus - the stored sperm and its own eggs are released into this.

The mucus hardens once it leaves the worm to form a cocoon which lies dormant in the soil until conditions are right for the juvenile worms to emerge.

Dendrobaena attemsi has cocoons that are good at resisting dry conditions and potentially better than some of our more common native species.