Identifying “Alabama Jumpers” aka Amynthas gracillus

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“Alabama jumper” is a common name for any number of Amynthas species but are usually sold as Amynthas gracillus. These worms are native to Asia (and apparently Hawaii) but are believed to have been introduced to the Southern USA and Australia in potted plants exported from parts of Asia.

  There are several local common names used for these species.

In the southern USA:

Alabama jumper

Georgia jumper

Carolina wiggler

Louisiana swamp worms

In the Northern USA:

Crazy snake worms

Jumping snake worms

Jersey jumpers

There are likely even more common names for Amynthas species but these are the ones I’ve seen used most often.

Amynthas with pale clitellum and dark rings fore and aft. Photo Courtesy Jessica Condron- Weirsdale Worms.

A pale colored clitellum with a darker ring on either edge is an indictor of Amynhas gracillus.

They also move differently than most worms, often writhing like snakes and thrashing violently when handled. Sometime they will thrash so hard that they will lose their tail (also a defense mechanism).

This YouTube video show the thrashing snakelike movement of A. gracillus. At the end of the video you can see why it’s nicknamed “jumper”

Larry Shier
 

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