Asian jumping worms may pose threat to Nebraska ag

Experts are concerned about the potential threat posed to Nebraska agriculture by an invasive worm from Asia.
    The Asian jumping worms can deplete soil of nutrients, damage plant roots and alter the soil’s capacity to hold water. They’ve been confirmed in several states, including Nebraska’s next-door neighbor, Iowa, last year.
    It’s unclear how or when the species, which has historically called Japan and the Korean Peninsula home, arrived in the United States. Experts think it likely was brought by boat in a plant shipment.
    The worms move fast, like snakes, and appear to be jumping when disturbed. They’re sometimes called ``Alabama jumpers’’ or ``crazy snake worms,’’ can reproduce without fertilization and are popular as fish bait.
    The peril for plants? The jumping worms don’t provide channels for plants to take root as other worms do as they move through the soil, and their excreta isn’t easily accessible for plants that use it for its nutrients.

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