Enchytraeids, also called 'potworms', are small (1-30mm), unpigmented worms.
They are involved in the soil food web since they feed on bacteria, fungi and protists, and decompose organic matter. They themselves are preyed upon by other soil organisms. Similar to earthworms, they influence the soil structure due to their burrowing activity, faecal pellet production and the mixing of mineral and organic matter. However, due to their size, they act at smaller scales than earthworms.
Interestingly, it seems that in cold, wet, and organic rich ecosystems with low pH, they replace earthworms and take-over the role of ecosystem engineer. In the Netherlands, over 84 species of enchytraeids are found.
Only a few people in Europe can identify enchytraeids to species, one of them being our technician Tamás Salanki.