Sublethal and chronic toxicities of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazacyclohexane (RDX), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) on earthworm Eisenia andrei in a sandy forest soil were assessed. Various reproduction parameters of fecundity (total and hatched number of cocoons, number of juveniles, and their biomass) were significantly decreased by TNT (gtoreq58.8+-5.1 mg/kg dry soil), RDX (gtoreq46.7+-2.6 mg/kg), and HMX (gtoreq15.6+-4.6 mg/kg). These effects occurred at much lower concentrations than those reported earlier using artificial soil preparations. Growth of adults was significantly decreased in the TNT-spiked natural soils at 136.2+-25.6 mg/kg dry soil, the highest concentration having no significant mortality. In contrast, survival and growth were not significantly reduced at relatively high measured concentrations of RDX (167.3 mg/kg) and HMX (711.0 mg/kg). Although TNT, RDX, and HMX share a common life-cycle response (i.e., decreased juvenile counts), a number of differences related to other reproduction parameters (e.g., productivity of cocoons) was observed. These results indicate that the tested explosives do not support a common mechanism of toxicity, at least in the earthworm, probably due to differences in their physical-chemical properties as well as metabolites formed during exposure. (c) Biosciences Information Services.