Aspen Bibliography

Earthworm populations as related to woodcock habitat usage in central Maine

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings, 6th Woodcock Symposium

Publication Date



Lumbricid earthworms were sampled 'on two central Maine study areas between late April and early September, 1974, to relate earthworm abundance to use of feeding covers by American woodcock(Philoheli minor). On sampling days, occurring at 2 to 3 week intervals, a formalin solution was applied to thirty O.25m areas in heavjly, commonly, and rarely used woodcock covers (5 samples/type of feedjngcover/study area). The extent of cover usage was based on use of vegetation by 51 radio-equipped woodcock, 1970-73 (605 woodcockdays). A total of 2,546 earthworms of nine species was collected; species and age compositions of collected lumbricids were similar on both study areas. Similarly. number and biomass (dry weight) of earthworms extracted did not differ significantly between study areas. However. the number and biomass of sampled earthworms were directly and significantly related to the intensity to which woodcock used covers. Those diurnal covers most heavily used by woodcock sustained the highest lumbricid populations, ostensibly because these covers provided earthworms with preferred foods (i.e., leaf litters) and optimum soil moisture-temperature conditions. In terms of earthworms and woodcock supported per unit area, management of second-growth hardwoods appears more efficient than attempting to alter coniferous or mixed forests.