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RESEARCH TOPIC – Effect of Diet and Incubating Media on the Production and Hatchability of Eudrilus Eugeniae (Kinberg) Cocoons

 Effect of Diet and Incubating Media on the Production and Hatch ability of Eudrilus Eugenia (Kinberg) Cocoons



Effects of various diets on Eudri/u~e ugeniae (Oligochaete) cocoon production and the effect of various incubating media on hatchability of the coocons were studied in culture pots. The results indicated that Pennisetuttt Po/y~tarbim (Shum. et Thonn) grass diet compared with Panicum maximum (L) grass diet induced more and faster cocoon production, greater hatchability, a greater number of worms per hatch and also faster hatching out of cocoons. Hatchability and number of worms per hatch were negatively correlated to weight ‘ I cocoon
(size) and varied with the stage (duration days) of vermicomposting at which the cocoons were laid.

The nature of the diet on which the cocoons were laid and isolated, and (for cocoons isolated from a given diet) the type of the incubating media significantly influenced hatchability end tk number of worms per hatch. Generally, vermicompost material was favourable incubating media, and gave rise to a high hatchability and many worms per hatch. The number of days to hatching of cocoons was significantly negatively correlated to the stage (duration day) at which they were laid. Cocoons laid at later vermicomposting stage hatched out faster than those laid at an earlier stage.

keyword^: Dietary influence, cocoon-production, -hatchability, incubating media.


Investigations on feeding biology and earthworm ecology have been conducted by Maldague et al. (1967); the influence of specific diets on growth has been investigated, by Hartestein (1 983); Mba (1 984); Hatanaka et al. (1983). However, little is known of the influence of specific diets on growth cocoon production and hatchability of tropical earthworms. Such biological factors influence the success of earthworm breeding for the production of vermicompost (an interesting organic fertilizer) and for the mass production of earthworms. Nigeria is becoming scriously concerned environment pollution by inorganic fertilizer and pesticides.

This, coupled with reduced foreign exchange, prompts Caroline C. Mba the search for alternative soil amendants and animal feed for crop production and meat Industries. We have investigated the influence of diets and incubating media on cocoon production by Eudrihs eugeniae. The aim of the study was to find the medium that resulted in the highest production of vermicompost and earthworm biomass.

2. Materials and methods

Eudri/us worms and cocoons were obtained from the earthworm breeding complex of the University of Nigeria Nsukka Research Farm.

2.1 Experiment 1 Rate of cocoon production:

In plastic containers 20 cm by 6 cm with perforated bottom that contained 80 g of either Pennisetum po&achion or Panicurn nluximum 10 fully clitellate adult worms, isolated from soil Paspaleturn vermicompost were potted. Each diet consisted of fermented, air dried and ground
grass. The food was watered to field capacity (about 203: dry matter) and incubated overnight before inoculating with the fully clitellate worms.

Pots were incubated in the dark and in a moist atmosphere. The initial moisture content was maintained by watering as required. Cocoons were sorted out and weighed at 3-days intervals.

At monthly intervals pots were emptied, the worms sorted out, weighed and, a fresh diet was placed in the pots. Cocoons from each pot and each sampling date were incubated separately in a cup containing moist soil (80% dry matter). The hatching 1″ date and the number of worms per hatch were noted after 40 days incubation. The. 4*pdmenb . w’ep&&d..m:w &n&r $imi& condibbn~


 Effect of Diet and Incubating Media on the Production and Hatch ability of Eudrilus Eugenia (Kinberg) Cocoons

2.2 Experiment

2. Hatchability of cocoons isolated from various vermicompost materials, on moist soil: Cocoons from the following vermicompost were sorted out

(1) Star grass (Cynodon dadj/on),
(2) Penniceturn pdystacbinn,

(3) Panicum max.,

(4) Panicum maw. + Gn~elina arboreu fruits (Gmelina),

( 5 ) Penrtkehm pob. + Gmelina,

(6) cassava peels + Gmelina,

( 7 ) , cassava peels. Visibly normal cocoons were weighed and potted in batches of 10 in plastic cups containing moist soil. Three cups were prepared for each compost material.

2.3 Experiment

3. Hatchability of cocoons in various incubator media: Batches of 10 visibly normal cocoons isolated from Gmelina + cassava peel vermicompost were weighed .and potted in cups containing 5 g of each of the following in duplicate:

(1) nylon tissue soaked in water,

(2) cassava peel vermicompost,

(3) Gmelina + cassava peel vermicompost,
(4) fermented and air dried Seteriu (sp) grass,

(5) Aeld vermicompost (mostly Panicum mx. +
Andropogon (sp) + Centrarenm (sp)). All material was moistened to 304, dry matter with tap water
and incubated in the dark and in a moist atmosphere for 40 days.
The e c t s of diet and incubating media on the production atid hatchabilio of Eudrilus eugeniae

3. Results

3.1 . Rate of cocoon production with the Pennisetum and Panicum diets:

Rate of cocoon production and the total number of cocoons produced per 100 g dried diet depended on the type of diet and on the stage (duration days) of vermicomposting (Tab. 11). Cocoon production started 5 + 1 days earlier on Pennisetum diet as compared with Panicum diet. Total number of cocoons produced was on the average 1 28,7 f 8,7 or 1 39,64 on Pennisetrrm diet compared to 9 1 ,1 + 21,l or 1004 on Panicum diet. The rate of production on both diets varied with the stage (duration days) of verrnicomposting. On each diet and in the
month I”, the rate increased to a peak in the week 3′”, then decreased during the week 4l”. Production rate during early vermicomposting was significantly greater on Pennisetum diet. Maximum production rate was 7,3 cocoons / worms / -I week in both diets. Average production rate was however 4,4 + 0,2 or 137,5%


 Effect of Diet and Incubating Media on the Production and Hatch ability of Eudrilus Eugenia (Kinberg) Cocoons

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