As the main optical isomer of metalaxyl, metalaxyl-M has been widely used worldwide in recent years because of its notable effect on the prevention and control of crop diseases. Together with the toxicity and degradation of metalaxyl-M, the chemical has attracted the attention of researchers. The present study examined the toxic effects of metalaxyl-M on earthworms at 0 mg kg(-1) , 0.1 mg kg(-1) , 1 mg kg(-1) , and 3 mg kg(-1) on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 after exposure. The results showed that metalaxyl-M could cause an obvious increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) when the concentration was higher than 0.1 mg kg(-1) , which led to lipid peroxidation in earthworms. Metalaxyl-M can induce DNA damage in earthworms, and the level of DNA damage markedly increased with increasing the concentration of metalaxyl-M. Metalaxyl-M also has a serious influence on the activities of antioxidant enzymes, which results in irreversible oxidative damage in cells. The changes of these indicators all indicated that metalaxyl-M may cause cytotoxic and genotoxic effects on earthworms.