Earthworms were studied at six sites along a gradient of urbanization and their relations with several soil abiotic factors were determined. Concentrations of heavy metals, calcium and magnesium in earthworms and in soils were measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Strong negative correlations were detected between earthworm density and soil concentrations of cadmium and magnesium. Earthworm biomass was negatively correlated with lead, copper and zinc, and positively correlated with the distance from the centre of the city. High concentrations of Cd and Zn (concentration factors 49 and 32) were accumulated by earthworms in contrast to those of Cu and Pb (2 and 1). Relations between worm and soil concentrations of heavy metals, Ca and Mg are discussed.