Earthworm is a creature, which is long, wiggly, segmented, and reddish-grey in colour. Earthworms are found in different colours like, purple, reddish-brown, and bright blue. They have hair on their body which help them to crawl. Earthworms have no lungs, but they breathe through their skin and they need to keep it moist so that they can absorb oxygen from air. An earthworm dies if its skin is dry. An earthworm goes through four stages in its life: the egg stage, the juvenile stage, the mature stage, and the mating stage. So, the cycle of an earthworm’s life starts from the egg stage and then ends when it dies. Many of us call it a creepy creature. No doubt it is the creepy one, but it provides us some benefits too and enhancing the fertility of soil is the most important one. The governments of various nations use earthworms to convert garbage into a fertilizer. Read the below sub-section to explore the facts about earthworms.
Scientific Name: Lumbricus terrestris
Number of Hearts: 9
Size: Up to 14 in (35 cm)
Weight: Up to 11.2 g (0.39 oz)
Natural Habitat: Throughout the world
Lifespan: 4-8 years
Gestation Period: 3 weeks to 5 months
Interesting & Fun Facts About Earthworms
- Decayed plants and animals are the primary source of food for earthworms.
- An earthworm never dies when cut it into two halves. The part with the fatter pink part will survive.
- The existence of earthworms dates back to 600 million years.
- Earthworm has 34,000 species and many of them are so small that you cannot see them even with the help of a microscope.
- Earthworms are hermaphrodite, and they have both male as well as female reproductive cells. Earthworms produce both sperms and eggs, but they cannot reproduce on their own. They need other worm’s sperm to fertilize an egg.
- Earthworms can’t bear light because it paralyses them, so they always run away from it. Moreover, they don’t have eyes. So, how are they able to see light? Well, their anterior help them sense it.
- Earthworms don’t have lungs and they use their skin to breathe.
- The body of an earthworm contains 80% water that makes it a cold-blooded insect.
- An earthworm can eat up to 1/3rd of its body weight in a day.
- Typically an earthworm is up to 14 inches long, but there are some exceptions too. The largest earthworm found in South Africameasured 22 feet from nose to tail.
- The skin of an earthworm dries in extreme hot and cold conditions and it dies. This is the reason why an earthworm cannot survive in extreme cold and desert areas.
- Earthworms have a capability to move both forward as well as backward, but they normally prefer to move forward.
- They dig a burrow with the help of their mouth and hence consume soil. While consuming soil, they extract the nutrients from decayed plants and animals present in it.
- In one acre of land you can find millions of earthworms. So, be very careful if you are going to visit any farm.
- Earthworms secrete slime, which is nitrogen rich. Slime helps in enhancing the fertility of soil.
- Earthworms can create 3 to 90 cocoons per year, however, only a couple of baby worms come out of them.
- Earthworms don’t have teeth, but they do have strong mouth muscles that help them swallow soil.
- Earthworms always run away from citrus or acidic food, such as, orange peels, pineapples, and others.
- Body of earthworms is segmented in the form of rings. They crawl by moving these rings back and froth.
- Just like lizards, earthworms can replicate the lost part, depending on the type of damage caused.
- Various known personalities have given different titles and honours to earthworms. Cleopatra declared them as sacred, while Aristotle titled them as “the intestines of the soil”. After 39 years of research, Charles Darwin called them the most important part in the history of the world.
- The body structure of an earthworm is like a tube with digestive system. It has a muscular, slim, and moist body.
- Ventral blood vessel and dorsal blood vessel are the two main blood vessels in its body. The ventral blood vessel leads the blood to the posterior end while the dorsal blood vessel pumps the blood to the anterior end.
- Earthworm survives in a moist environment and therefore there is no need to reclaim water during excretion; this is the reason why a rectum is not required by earthworms.
- An earthworm’s ability to regenerate depends upon the type of species and the extent of damage caused.
- A study in the US has revealed that the fresh casts of an earthworm are five times rich in available nitrogen, seven times rich in available phosphates, and 11 times rich in available potash as compared to the surrounding soil.
- An earthworm can produce more than 4.5 kg of cast per year, in case there is plenty of soil.
- Earthworms act as pistons that pump air in and out of the soil, thus simplifying the process of aeration and drainage.
- The mucus excreted by earthworm inside the soil acts as a lubricant for easier movement of the worm.
- Research has revealed that fertile land can contain up to 1,750,000 earthworms per acre while poor soil may support 250,000 earthworms per acre.
- Earthworms are present at the bottom of many food chains.
- Fertilizer rich in nitrogen; such as, DDT, lime sulphur, and lead arsenate, can be fatal to earthworms.
- Although soil is the main habitat for earthworms, there are some other species that survive in different habitats. For example, the worm Eisenia fetida is found in decaying plant matter and manure, and Arctiostrotus vancouverensis lives in decaying conifer logs.