Axial pressures generated by the earthworm Aporrectodea rosea

B. M. McKenzie (Lead / Corresponding author), A. R. Dexter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    The axial forces generated by the earthworm Aporrectodea rosea were measured by directing the earthworm to tunnel into soil discs mounted on an electronic balance connected to a datalogger. The area over which the force acted was estimated from the size of the hole created by the tunnelling. The maximum force recorded by an individual worm was 0.760 N and the mean maximum value was 0.465 N. The maximum pressures recorded was 116.5 kPa, while the mean maximum pressure was 72.8 kPa. These axial pressures are approximately one-tenth of the maximum axial pressure recorded for plant roots. The statistical distribution of activity as the worms tunnelled through the soil discs was analysed. Pressures recorded were well in excess of physiologically measured pressures and the generation of forces within muscles to achieve these pressures was calculated by some assumptions. It was estimated that there is a maximum tension in the circular muscles of 0.15 N per segment of the worm.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)323-327
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1988


    • Aporrectodea rosea
    • Axial pressure
    • Burrowing
    • Earthworm
    • Tunnelling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology
    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Soil Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Axial pressures generated by the earthworm Aporrectodea rosea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this