How to identify: the Black-headed worm

Black-headed wormA large species that lives in permanent burrows, unlike some earthworms, which don't maintain their tunnels. Can produce piles of worm casts or faeces, sometimes more than 5cm tall, around the entrance of their burrows.

Scientific name
Aporrectodea longa

Widespread. Moderately common (five to 20 worms per square metre), often in alkaline soils in open areas such as gardens, grassland and cultivated soils.

Eats soil

Typical adult size about 12cm in length when not moving


  • Long and thin
  • The upper surface of the body, from the first segment to the saddle, is entirely dark in colour
  • Often has a dark purplish head, while the rear end of the body is often much paler
  • Visible male pores (see earthworm key for image)