The Worm

Worm Facts - worm with notepad
  • Worms have no fewer than 5 hearts!
  • Earthworms are hermaphrodites, their bodies contain both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Earthworms don't have lungs, but instead breathe through their skin as long as it stays moist.
  • The slimy surface of the worm, actually allows the little creature to breathe. The worm's skin is porous, and blood vessels close to the skin absorb oxygen from the air or from oxygenated water while releasing carbon dioxide. But these gases can interchange only if the skin is moist. If a worm dries out, it will slowly choke to death. On the other hand, if a worm is trapped in its burrow during heavy rain, the oxygen supply in the water will be quickly exhausted. This is one reason why worms crawl to the surface after a downpour. If they don't evacuate, they will suffocate.
  • There are thousands of different kinds of earthworms worldwide (some encyclopedias state 1900, 2200, 3000, 6000 or more. I guess just toooooooooo many to count accurately!
  • Baby worms hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.
  • Worms can eat their weight each day. (some people may call it gluttony, If you weighed 70kg can you image eating this in one day)
  • In favorable conditions, worms breed every seven to ten days and can double their population in 90 days.
  • Worms don't have eyes , but are sensitive to light.
  • The Earthworms body is bristling with sense organs-as many as 1,900 on just one segment. These receptors give the worm a sense of touch, the capacity to taste, and the ability to detect light.

Productive plowmen and expert soilsmen

Worm Facts - worm with notepad
  • As worms squirm through the earth's surface, they act like miniature plowmen. Munching their way through manure, soil, and decaying vegetation, they produce a waste product called worm castings-a product they manufacture in enormous quantities. It has been estimated that worms working under the green fields of England annually churn out about eight tons of castings per acre [20 tons of castings per hectare]. More impressive are the worms that inhabit the Nile Valley. These worms may deposit up to 1,000 tons of castings per acre [2,500 tons of castings per hectare]. As worms till the soil, it becomes better aerated and more water absorbent and increases in fertility.
  • Earthworms pull partly-decomposed organic material down into the soil for a good feast. The organic matter is then broken down further in the earthworm, before being excreted as 'worm casts'. These are easily converted into nutrients by the soil's micro-organisms. The nutrients are readily taken up by developing plants. Worm casts in the garden, have a nutrient level and organic matter level much higher than that of the surrounding soil. Each day worms produce nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium carbonate and many micro nutrients in a form that all plants can use. Facts A small 400 sq ft garden with a low worm population of only 5 worms/cubic foot will be provided with over 600 lbs (about 1/3 lb per worm) of top-grade fertilizer by the worms, each year. They can also help to bring an acid soil back to a more neutral ph over time. Their casts contain calcium carbonate. Earthworms are generally found in the top 10cm or so of soil. They breath through their skin and therefore need a moist environment, so if the soil dries excessively, they will burrow deeper. (Up to 2 meters)  They are basically nocturnal - coming to the surface at night when temperatures are lower and humidity higher.  Sandy and acidic soils are their least favorite habitats. In addition to recycling organic matter, worms are great for improving soil structure. Their borrowing action helps to improve aeration, moisture retention, and water penetration. So, if you want more earthworms - apply regular dressings of organic matter to the top surface of your garden. The worms will do the digging for you!
  • The worm grips the soil with the aid of small, hairlike projections called setae. Each segment of the worm has sets of setae that act somewhat like the oars of a rowboat. The worm plunges them into the soil, pulls itself along, and then retracts them. The worm can "paddle" in either direction using one set of setae at a time or, if startled, can anchor one end of its body while rapidly retracting the other end.

Other facts

Worm Facts - worm with notepad
  • The thousands of sense organs and the complex muscle systems are all wired into the cerebral ganglion, located at the mouth end of the worm. Experiments have shown that in addition to their physical talents, worms have a limited capacity for memory and can even learn to avoid danger.
  • Thousands of species of earthworms share our planet. They inhabit all but the driest and coldest parts of the earth. Under the savannas of South Africa, there may be as few as 7 worms in every square foot [70 worms in every square meter] of soil, while on a forest floor in Canada, there may be over 70 worms per square foot [700 worms per square meter].
  • Scientists have discovered that the worm's digestive system converts nutrients into forms that plants can absorb, so worm castings are bursting with plant food. In addition, many harmful microorganisms found in rotting manure and vegetation are destroyed as they pass through a worm's gut. Thus, worms clean the soil as they feed. An ideal recycling machine, they thrive on waste while manufacturing nutritious food.
  • Studies have revealed another possible use for worms-as a source of food. Worms contain the same beneficial amino acids as beef. On a dry weight basis, they are packed with 60 percent protein and 10 percent fat and contain calcium and phosphorus. Already, in some lands, people eat earthworm pies. In other parts of the world, they fry earthworms and even eat them raw.
  • The giant Gippsland worm, an endangered species in Australia, can grow to over four feet [1.5 m] in length

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