oa African Zoology - The life-cycle of the compost worm Eisenia ietida (Oligochaeta)

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



To determine the full potential of the compost worm Eisenia fetida as waste processor and as source of protein, the life-cycle of this species had to be studied thoroughly. The development, growth and reproduction of Eisenia fetida were studied on cattle manure under favourable conditions of moisture, temperature and nutrition. Data were gathered over a period of 600 days. Apart from the life-cycle this study also indicated that this species can be reproductively active for more than 500 days. This is significantly longer than had previously been believed. Each cocoon produced a mean of 2,7 hatchlings after a mean incubation period of 23 days. These worms attained sexual maturity after 40 to 60 days and produced their first cocoons within four days after mating took place.

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