Instrumentation Design to Record Neuronal Activity in Earthworms


  • Ziona Choi
  • Bamlak Belay
  • Venkat Kalyan
  • Reddy Yasa
  • Dr. Nathalia Peixoto



Wave action potentials (AP) are visualizations of rapid increase and decrease of electrical activity through a cellular membrane. As information is given through neurons, axons will send impulses down the cell body. Using various recording technologies, neuronal activity has had lots of testing done and we can now see the peripheral nervous system of animals. However, introducing hands-on AP activity simply can be challenging because of the extensive preparation that does into testing vertebrates. Elaborating on previous experiments, our research worked around this by experimenting on the earthworms (Eisenia fetida) since their neural activity can be recorded through their skin rather than requiring dissection. Using accessible recording software such as Intan Technologies, we connected two electrodes at the tail and head of the worm after sedating it with a non-harmful ethanol anesthetic to quickly pick up any nerve action potential. We observed a successful recording of impulses through the earthworm’s skin without requiring any dissection and with accessible equipment. These results show us that testing earthworms is a simple way to get a sense of neuronal activity without needing a long preparation time period, without requiring dissection, and allowing a simple setup for facilities that don’t have extensive equipment.





College of Engineering and Computing: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering