Lumbricus terrestris middens are biological and chemical hotspots in a minimum tillage arable ecosystem

Jacqueline L. Stroud*, Daisy E. Irons, Joanna E. Carter, Chris W. Watts, Philip J. Murray, Stuart L. Norris, Andrew P. Whitmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The biological (macrofauna and mesofauna), physical (size) and chemical (nutrient availability) properties of Lumbricus terrestris middens were studied on a minimum tillage field trial amended with farmyard manure, compost or unamended treatments. Results showed that herbivorous-type interactions with wheat crop leaves were common. Midden microhabitats containing these fresh leaves were significantly enhanced by up to 2.8-fold in mesofauna (springtails, enchytraeidae, mites, millipedes) abundance. Midden microhabitats on plots amended with farmyard manure had significantly (p < 0.05) more endogeic earthworms than compost amended or control plots. Further, middens found on farmyard manure amended plots were significantly (p < 0.05) larger, being twice the size (20.6 ± 1.7 g dry weight) of middens found on compost or control plots, demonstrating that farmyard manure improves midden microhabitat size and quality. Middens were enriched in extractable plant nutrients including P, K, S and Mn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-35
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Early online date14 Apr 2016
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Earthworm
  • Farmyard manure
  • Midden
  • Mintill
  • Wheat


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