Radial pressures generated by the earthworm Aporrectodea rosea

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The radial pressures generated by the earthworm Aporrectodea rosea were measured in a study of the conditions under which the worms were able to crack soil discs into which they were encouraged to tunnel. The tensile strength of replicate discs was determined by indirect tension tests and by expansion of rubber membranes in soil discs. Simple engineering theory was used to relate the stress required to fracture a disc with the applied internal stress. Mean values for the radial stress applied by the earthworms in tunnelling through the discs was 230 kPa. With some assumptions about the distribution of muscles across the worm diameter, it was estimated that the mean maximum force generated by all the longitudinal muscles in any segment was 3.2 N.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-332
Number of pages5
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1988


  • Aporrectodea rosea
  • Earthworm
  • Indirect tension test
  • Maximum force
  • Radial Pressure
  • Tunnelling


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