Anesthetizing lumbricids

Barrie Jamieson bjamieson at
Wed Aug 4 20:03:51 EST 1999

I used to use chlorbutol to anaesthetize earthworms (I am not sure whether 
it is still permitted) but remarkably I have found weak ethanol to be very 
effective. It is a matter of trial and error, starting with 5% and increasing 
until an effective strength is found for the particular species. Worms 
recover well if then returned to freshwater for a time. However, any 
anaesthetic might have profound effects on neuronal transmsission, of 

If worms are kept in the ethanol for too long, their osmoregulation breaks 
down, I should add. 30 minutes is about the maximum, in my experience. 
Possibly if only peridocially immersed this would not be a problem. I am 
sure, though that physiologists will have much better answers to your 

Barrie Jamieson

>Can anyone give me some tips on how to anesthetize lumbricid worms? I
>am trying to insert microelectrodes into a Lumbricus sp. 

Professor B.G.M. Jamieson
Zoology Department
University of Queensland
Brisbane 4072
Phone: +61 7 3365 2683
Fax: +61 7 3365 1655
email BJamieson at

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