Earthworms are good for the soil, but so-called Jumping Worms, an invasive species from Asia, can devastate gardens and forests.
Jumping Worms are spreading across North America. “Invasive species can really quickly do a number on native species that don't have defense mechanisms against their invader,” said Brad Herrick, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Herrick told Inside Edition Digital, “It's still early in the invasion, but it's happening fast."
The jumping worm's ability to reproduce without mating, proliferate quickly and lay eggs that resemble the soil are a few qualities that make the worm extremely invasive, reported Cindy Dampier for theChicago Tribune. As the worm rapidly depletes topsoil of all nutrients, it outcompetes native fungi species and other non-native worm species, PBS Wisconsin reports. As a result, native plants in the Midwest that once grabbed hold of the region's heavy clay topsoil may have a harder time growing. "Plants need that layer in order to germinate," says Brad Herrick, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin to theChicago Tribune, "and trees need it in order to survive."