Earthworm

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An earthworm

An earthworm is an invertebrate animal with a long body and no legs. It a type of annelid.

There are over 5,500 known species of worms. They can be found everywhere, except in polar or dry climates. Their size varies: they can be between two centimeters and about three metres in length. The biggest known earthworm is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, one of about 1 000 earthworm species found in Australia. They are usually about 80cm in length, but can grow to about 3 metres. Some other worms are Tapeworm and Ringworm. Both of those worms are parasites.

The most common earthworm (in Europe, and most other temperate climate regions) can grow to a size of about 20-25 cm when extended.

Most earthworms can regrow lost segments. This capability varies by species though.

Long ago, all animals looking like worms were lumped together by John Ray, and by Linnaeus in their classifications. Later, biologists found that some were in quite different groups. Roundworms and flatworms are different phyla. Inchworms are a type of caterpillar, and the slow-worm is a legless lizard.

Physical characteristics of an earthworm[change | edit source]

An earthworm has a pointy head and small mouth. The colour of an earthworm can be brown, pink or red. Earthworms have a long body. They look squishy and gushy and slimy, but they are not. They have tiny hairs called bristles. Earthworms have ringed segments. They have a saddle where it lays its eggs. Earthworms have five pairs of hearts. It has no thorax or abdomen.

Earthworm habitats[change | edit source]

Earthworms live in dark damp soil. They live in vegetable peels. They also live in meadows and dead plants. Earthworms live in gardens. They live under rocks. Earthworms live in wet woods. They also live in damp grass.

Reproduction[change | edit source]

Despite the fact that worms are both male and female they still need a partner to reproduce. They will find another worm and transfer sperm to the egg by wriggling against each other till the spot where the egg is and the sperm is, thus fertilizing the egg. The egg is then laid. When the egg hatches the worms inside will come out and grow until they can mate which takes about 6 weeks.

Diet[change | edit source]

Earthworms eat soil and rocks. The rocks they eat are tiny and earthworms crush and grind them with their guts. They eat oatmeal. Earthworms eat roots. Earthworms eat compost and also dead plants. An earthworm has enemies like hedgehogs, birds(such as cardinals), and snakes. Their defenses are camouflaging. Camouflage means you cannot see it because it is the same colour (or shade) as its background.

Further reading[change | edit source]