- The effect of gamma radiation delivered over 24 h on the induction of bystander signals of three earthworm species exposed in vivo was investigated: A. chlorotica, A. caliginosa, and E. tetraedra. Worms were exposed to external gamma irradiation (Co-60 source) for 24 h and samples of head, body, and clitellum were dissected from exposed and control worms and placed in culture medium for 24 h at 19 C. The harvested medium was filtered and assayed for expression of bystander signals using both clonogenic and mitochondrial reporter assays. Different responses were observed in the different species and in the different tissues. A. chlorotica worm-treated reporters show insignificant mitochondrial response for all sections, yet a significant clonogenic reduction in survival for body sections. A. caliginosa worm-treated reporters show a significant mitochondrial response for some sections and insignificant mitochondrial response and insignificant reduction in clonogenic survival for the rest. E. tetraedra worms from a control site show significant evidence of bystander signalling, measured by mitochondrial response in reporter cells, for all sections while those harvested from a contaminated site show insignificant changes in baseline signalling when exposed to the challenge dose. In vivo exposure of earthworm species shows evidence of bystander signalling using two different reporter assays. This effect varied between the different species and tissues. There is also evidence of attenuated bystander signalling in worms harvested from a site contaminated with radiation.