Improved or New Jumping Worm Common Names

Photo: Susan Day – UW-Madison Arboretum

Working towards better invasive species common names

The University of Minnesota Extension Invasive Species Community of Practice created Guiding Principles for Common Names in an effort to support or create better (less troublesome) common names for invasive species of concern in Minnesota. This work was inspired in part by the Minnesotan Legislature's directive on the term invasive carp, in response to concerns from Asian Minnesotans and engagement with the UMN Extension Foreign Born Affinity Group and their challenge that we use our influence to improve invasive species common names. We worked to avoid names based on places, people, or derogatory slang related to medical conditions, while still trying to give distinctive names related to appearance or behavior or the species.

Minnesota State Laws

2014, Regular Session: Sec. 67. INVASIVE CARP. The commissioner of natural resources shall not propose laws to the legislature that contain the term "Asian carp." The commissioner shall use the term "invasive carp" or refer to the specific species in any proposed laws, rules, or official documents when referring to carp species that are not naturalized to the waters of this state.

Jumping worms common names

The concern: The group of worms often referenced as jumping worms have many other less desirable names and several species had no generally accepted common name at all. The UMN Extension Invasive Species Community of Practice agreed to work on jumping worm names and formed a working group.

Working group: Angela Gupta, UMN Extension Forester (, Laura Van Riper, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Terrestrial Invasive Species Program Coordinator ( and Kyngsoo Yoo, UMN Professor of Soil, Water and Climate (

Approach: This list was created after the working group did an audit of common names used on major invasive species platforms, using Google searches, reviewing the scientific literature, and applying the Guiding Name Principles and then hosting a series of discussions with earthworm experts including Sam James, Lee Frelich, and Annise Dobson to get feedback before being put to the UMN Extension Invasive Species Community of Practice for a show of support.

What's next: Working team members will also work with major national platforms including EDDMapS, iNaturalist, USDA Plants to get new common names accepted for jumping worms.