Life-cycle of the European compost worm Dendrobaena veneta (Oligochaeta)
Sophié A. Viljoen
The life-cycle of Dendrobaena veneta was studied to assess the potential of this species in vermiculture. The development, growth and reproduction were investigated by rearing worms at 25°C on urine-free cattle manure with a moisture content of 80% over a period of 200 days. It was found that cocoons are produced at a mean rate of 0,28 cocoons per worm per day and production can be sustained for at least 200 days. The mean incubation period of the cocoons is 42,1 days with a very low hatching success. The mean number of hatchlings per cocoon that hatched was 1,1. Sexual maturity may be attained within 20 to 35 days but some worms take up to 130 days. Dendrobaena veneta grew well on cattle manure. This species seems to be less suitable than some other epigeic species for vermiculture, at least in terms of its reproductive capacity in the experimental climatic conditions.