• An earthworm can grow only so long. A well-fed adult will depend on what kind of worm it is, how many segments it has, how old it is and how well fed it is. An Lumbricus terrestris will be from 90-300 millimeters long.

  • A worm has no arms, legs or eyes.

  • There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms.

  • Worms live where there is food, moisture, oxygen and a favorable temperature. If they don’t have these things, they go somewhere else.

  • In one acre of land, there can be more than a million earthworms.

  • The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.

  • Worms tunnel deeply in the soil and bring subsoil closer to the surface mixing it with the topsoil. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants. The sticky slime helps to hold clusters of soil particles together in formations called aggregates.

  • Charles Darwin spent 39 years studying earthworms more than 100 years ago.

  • Worms are cold-blooded animals.

  • Earthworms have the ability to replace or replicate lost segments. This ability varies greatly depending on the species of worm you have, the amount of damage to the worm and where it is cut. It may be easy for a worm to replace a lost tail, but may be very difficult or impossible to replace a lost head if things are not just right.

  • Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.

  • The Australian Gippsland Earthworm grows to 12 feet long and can weigh 1-1/2 pounds.

  • Even though worms don’t have eyes, they can sense light, especially at their anterior (front end). They move away from light and will become paralyzed if exposed to light for too long (approximately one hour).

  • If a worm’s skin dries out, it will die.

  • Worms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs. Worms mate by joining their clitella (swollen area near the head of a mature worm) and exchanging sperm. Then each worm forms an egg capsule in its clitellum.

  • Worms can eat their weight each day.

Charles Darwin was fascinated with worms.

Charles Darwin, best known for his theory of evolution, studied worms for 38 years. He even published a book on them in 1881 with his findings, just before he died. In this book he suggested earthworms are the most important creatures on Earth. Here are 15 amazing and interesting worm facts.

Contents

1. Worms Will Become Paralyzed if Exposed to Light for Too Long

Worms live in the dark, and are very sensitive to light. Worms do not have eyes, but can detect light through their skin. Worms will move away from light so that their skin stays moist. If worms are exposed to light for about an hour, they will become paralyzed and unable to burrow back into the darkness.

2. Worms Breath Through Their Skin and Have No Lungs

All living animals need oxygen. Worms cannot breath in through their mouth, and they don’t have a nose either. Instead of lungs, worms have a thin permeable skin through which oxygen in air passes through. The mucos on a worms skin helps to dissolve the oxygen. Therefore, worms need moisture. If a worms dries out, they suffocate. Likewise, if a worms environment is too moist, they drown.

The Ultimate Worm Farm Guide for Beginners

Are you thinking about starting a worm farm? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to start a worm farm.

3. Worms Can Regenerate Some Segments of Their Body

This is one of the most misunderstood worm facts. If you cut a worm in half, depending on where the cut is, it can regenerate lost segments. Worms have 5 hearts located close to the head and before the clitella. If you cut a worm behind the clitella, then it may be able to regenerate it’s tail.

Worm Fact #4 – Worms Are Cold Blooded and Have 5 Hearts

Because worms are cold blooded, their can’t regulate their temperature like mammals can. This means their body temperature will be the same as their surroundings.

Worms do not have a multi-chambered heart like mammals and reptiles do. Instead they have 5 single-chambered aortic arches (functions similar to a heart) which pumps blood through their body. The 5 hearts are close to the head of the worm.

5. The Average Lifespan of A Worm Is About 2 Years, but They Can Live Up to as Long as 8 Years

The life span expectancy of worms can vary widely depending on the species. In a protected and stable environment, some species of worms can live up to 4-8 years In the wild, worms have many predators. In general, the average life span of a composting worm is about 2 years.

6. Worms Have Tiny Hairs on Each Segment

Worms have tiny bristles, known as setae, on each segment. The setae help it move through soil and allow the worm to grip the surrounding soil. The setae are very strong and formed from the same material that makes up our fingernails.

7. Worms Are Hermaphrodite – Both Male and Female

While worms possess both male and female sexual organs, a red wiggler cannot produce offspring alone.

8. Adult Worms Have A Ring Called A Clitella

An active worm breeder can be identified form their distinctive ring called a clitella band

You can identify adult breeding worms by their distinctive ring shaped band called a clitella. Worms mate by lining up their heads and attaching themselves together at the clitella. A cocoon is then formed at the clitella band.

9. Baby Worms Hatch From Cocoons

Compost worm eggs / cocoons found in the worm bin.

A mature Red Wiggler worm can produce 2-3 cocoons per week. Cocoons are small, lemon shaped and yellowish gold colored. For Red Wiggler worms, the hatchlings inside the cocoon can take up to 11 weeks to mature before they hatch. Each cocoon usually hatches 2 to 4 baby worms. Cocoons can be dormant for years until conditions are right.

Did you know a worm colony can double in population every 60-90 days?

10. The Giant Gippsland Earthworm Is the the Longest in the World, Reaching Up to 9.8 Ft (3m) Long

The Gippsland Giant earthworm is one of the largest earthworms in the world. They average 3.3 ft (1 m) long, 0.79 inches (2 cm) in diameter and can reach up to 9.8 ft (3 m) long.

The Gippsland Giant earthworm is a protected species only found in a small pocket of land near the bottom of mainland Australian. When the Gippsland Giant earthworm was first discovered in the 1870s, it was mistaken for a snake.

As an Aussie, this is one of my favorite worm facts. I actually grew up in the Gippsland area not far away from where they live.

The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa measuring 22 ft (6.7 m) long.

11. Worms Digest Half of Their Body Weight on Average Each Day

Worms are fast food processors, and can digest about half of their body weight each day. The average food waste from a family of 4 would need about 20,000 worms to process each day. A worms digestive system is a tube which runs straight from the front at the mouth and all the way to the rear.

Find out what worms eat and what foods are bad for worms.

12. There Are About 6,000 Different Kinds of Earthworms

Worms are present on all continents except Antarctica. There are about 6,000 species of earthworm. Earthworms are an invasive species. Their introduction can alter many different variables in the soil ecosystem.

13. Worms Are Older Than the Dinosaurs

The first dinosaurs appeared around 231 million years ago in a time called the Mesozoic Era. Earthworms predate all vertebrates in general. And have been around for about 600 million years.

14. Worms Are 90% Water

Worms are 90% water. In comparison, humans are about 75% water.

15. If Worms Eat Too Much Protein, They Can Appear Deformed

One of the most intriguing worm facts is the phenomenon of protein poisoning (also known as sour crop).
Source: The Squirm Firm.

One of the most intriguing worm facts is the phenomenon of protein poisoning (also known as sour crop). If worms eat too much protein, they can struggle to digest it. When this happens, the food in the worms intestines can start to ferment due to acidity. The build up of gasses can rupture the worms intestines, causing irreparable damage. This can leave the worms deformed, looking like a string of pearls. In most cases, this situation can be avoided by not overfeeding your worms.

6 amazing facts you didn’t know about earthworms

How many species of earthworm are in the UK?

We have 29 species of worm in the UK, and 31 including Ireland. A suburban garden is likely to hold about seven or eight different species.

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What is the biggest species of earthworm in the UK?

The largest earthworm in Britain is Lumbricus terrestris, which can grow to over 30cm long and is also known as ‘the night crawler’.

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What is the biggest species of earthworm in the world?

The longest known earthworm in the world, stretching to more than 2m, is the Australian Giant Gippsland earthworm Megascolides australis. Sadly, this giant is listed as a vulnerable species under the The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

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Where are earthworms found?

Earthworms can be found in almost all areas of the globe and in all sorts of habitat: tropical rainforests, on mountains, in the branches of trees, and even in birds’ nests. The exception is extreme deserts.

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Are all earthworms the same colour?

Some Asian species, which can sometimes survive as small populations in UK greenhouses, have a beautiful blue green iridescence. These worms can also jump!

Microscolex phosphoreus, which can glow, is occasionally found here – often on golf courses, where it annoys the golfers by producing tiny casts.

Iridescence on Amynthas rodericensis. © Debbie Fynn

The ‘fried egg worm’ in the Philippines is so named because it appears to have tiny fried eggs along its body.

The ‘fried egg worm’, Archipheretima middletoni. © Sam James 6

Are there any earthworm events?

Highlights of the worm enthusiast’s calendar include:

Blackawton International Worm Charming Festival, Devon

Teams are challenged to persuade as many worms as possible to come to the surface without digging. See http://bit.ly/1ieCr1N

Cordova Iceworm Festival, Alaska

This festival celebrates the iceworm Mesenchytraeus solifugus. This small oligochaete worm lives in the ice; it has a type of antifreeze within it and feeds on bits of algae. The next event is February 1 – 5, 2017. See http://bit.ly/2iV4lpo

The Karmai Giant Worm Festival, Korumbarra, Australia

Running for 20 years, this festival probably saved the town from economic collapse after the local mine closed in the 1970s. Korumbarra falls within the territory of the Giant Gippsland earthworm (see above), and decided to celebrate its local hero.

Both the festival and its star, a 100-metre-long worm puppet, were named Karmai after the Aboriginal word for earthworm. This extraordinary story is celebrated by Melita Rowston’s Giant Worm Show at the Fringe in Adelaide and Syney during 2017. See http://bit.ly/2j95maW

Find out more about earthworms in the UK.

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Main image: Lumbricus terrestris earthworm. © Harry Taylor / NHM

Earthworms have been around for a very long time.

An earthworm does not have a skeleton. It has bristles on each segment called setae (see-tee) that help the earthworm move. Earthworms have no limbs but the setae are almost like little legs that help it slide through the soil. There are four pairs of setae in each segment of a worm’s body. The earthworm has two sets of muscles: one that makes it long and thin and one that makes it fat.

An earthworm has a nervous system with a simple brain and nerve cord. Some earthworms (night crawlers) can live up to 5-10 years! This is probably because they can’t be attacked and eaten by birds since they are so deep below the surface (unlike the common red earthworm).

Types of Earthworm:

  • Red earthworm: this is the most common one you will see in your garden and lives near the surface. These guys can be bred just to recycle garbage!
  • Night crawler: This guy is found much deeper down in the soil maybe 6ft below.

There are over 2700 species of earthworms in total!

What is an earthworm made up of?

A fully-grown earthworm can have anywhere between 120-170 rings. The first segment is it’s mouth and the last segment is its anus. Earthworms range in length from 1-2 inches to 8ft! (The 8ft long species comes from Ecuador in South America). Did you know that an earthworm has FIVE hearts! These hearts pump blood (containing oxygen and nutrients from the food that the worm eats) throughout its body to all its different parts.

Earthworms are hermaphrodites. This means they have two private parts…one part is a boy part and the other part is a girl bit.

However, the eggs must be fertilized by another worm. An earthworm lays a batch of eggs at one time. They do not spend time raising their young once they are hatched.

What and how does and earthworm eat?

It eats dirt, digesting the plant and animal matter in the soil and then eliminates the rest. An earthworm’s waste helps to fertilize the soil. It gets rid of its wastes through tubes called nephridin that lead to pores that allow the waste out. It has an esophagus for the food to go down, a crop to store the food in, a powerful muscle system called the gizzard which grinds the food down, intestines for the food to pass through and take out nutrients and an anus for the food to come out.

How does can earthworm breathe?

An earthworm has no respiratory organs. It takes in oxygen directly through its skin and gives off carbon dioxide. Its skin is always moist.

Why are earthworms so important to mother nature?

They are very important because they spend most of their time digging around in dirt, eating leaf bits and the remains of dead animals. As they do they accomplish three things:

  • Their eating actions serve to turn the soil.
  • The tunnels they produce as they move through the soil “aerate” that soil, meaning that they allow it to take in valuable air that it would not otherwise receive.
  • Worm castings (aka: poop) provide recycled nutrients to nourish the soil.

These three actions actually make the soil more fertile! Worms, just by doing their wormy things – eating and pooping – change over the soil that you see in your garden, at a farm or wherever soil needs to be moved. This conversion process can actually reach depths of about 6ft into the ground but is not accomplished by one type of earthworm alone.

Interesting Worm Facts:

  • Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, believed worms were sacred. We, at Science With Me! tend to agree with her! Earthworms are fantastic!
  • If a worm is cut into two parts, the part with the head segment will live on and grow a new tail. However, the tail portion will not regenerate a new head and will eventually die.
  • The next time you see a worm don’t say; “eeeeewwww”….just say “Earthworms are amazing!”

Want to learn more about Earthworms? Check out our An Introduction to the Earthworm Collection that includes our Ester the Earthworm Storybook, Song, Coloring Book, and Animation.

Interested in animals in general? Continue to learn about them by downloading our fun Introduction to Animals E-Book. It’s a great learning aid for children interested in science and the wonderful world we inhabit with many fellow creatures.

About worms in kids

Worms are a type of parasite.

This article is about threadworms, which are the most common type of worms in kids. Threadworms are also known as pinworms. Threadworms won’t hurt your child, and you can treat them easily. But they do spread between people very easily too.

Children can get threadworms when they accidentally get worm eggs on their hands and swallow them. This might happen if they come into contact with people with worms or with worm-infected dust, toys or bed linen.

Once swallowed, the eggs get into children’s small intestines, where they hatch and lay more eggs around the anus. This can make children’s bottoms very itchy. Sometimes worms get into girls’ vaginas and make this area itchy too. If children scratch their bottoms and then touch their mouths, they can swallow the eggs again, causing this cycle to repeat.

If children touch things around the house without washing their hands, the eggs might spread to other people in the house too.

Worms in kids: signs and symptoms

Most threadworm infections won’t cause any symptoms at all. But some children might have:

  • itchiness around the bottom and/or vagina, which is usually worse at night
  • redness around the bottom area
  • restlessness.

Some rare symptoms include:

  • visible worms – small, white and 8-13 mm long (often mistaken for bits of toilet paper!)
  • stomach pain
  • vulvovaginitis
  • nausea and vomiting.

Does your child need to see a doctor about worms?

If your child has any of the signs and symptoms of worms, it’s a good idea to see your GP.

Tests for worms in kids

Your GP will probably use the ‘sticky tape test’ to check for worm eggs or worms.

This involves putting sticky tape over your child’s anus, removing it and then putting it onto a glass slide. When the doctor or another professional looks at the slide under a microscope in a laboratory, they can see whether there are any worms or worm eggs.

It’s best for your child to have this test early in the morning before he has a bath or does a poo and wipes his bottom.

Treatments for worms in kids

Threadworms in kids are easy to treat and usually aren’t serious.

Your GP will probably tell you to give your child a dose of antiparasitic tablets, which you can get over the counter from a pharmacy. Your child usually needs to repeat the dose after two weeks to make sure all the worms are gone.

If your child is diagnosed with threadworms, you should treat everyone in the household with antiparasitic tablets too. This stops the spread of worms between family members. It’s also a good idea to keep your child home from school or child care while she has worms, to stop worms spreading to other children.

Unfortunately, the eggs spread easily and it’s common for infections to come back.

Prevention of worms in kids

There are several ways to help prevent the spread of worms:

  • Thoroughly wash hands after going to the toilet and before handling food.
  • Cut fingernails regularly.
  • Try to encourage your child not to scratch around his bottom or suck his thumb or fingers.
  • Treat everyone in the family with antiparasitic tablets when someone in the family has worms.
  • If you or your child has worms, regularly wash her clothes and bed linen in hot soapy water every day for up to several days after treatment.
  • Clean toilet seats and potties regularly.
  • Encourage your child to take a shower or bath every day (morning is better to help remove eggs).

WORMS: Vermiculture

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DID YOU KNOW? – Earthworms Do Not Have Eyes Or Ears

Earthworms do not have eyes or ears.

Instead they have light sensitive cells on the surface of their bodies to tell them the difference between light and dark. Worms do not like light, and tend to stay underground during the day, coming out at night to look for food.

They are also sensitive to pressure change and vibrations allowing them to adapt quickly when they feel the tapping of raindrops on the ground. When worms detect rain they will rise to the surface to prevent themselves from drowning.

Interestingly, there are world-wide worm charming competitions and champions use this trait to charm the worms out by tapping a stick on the floor to recreate the effects of rain drops vibrations. So next time you see a random person hitting a stick on the ground numerous times, don’t be too alarmed!

Discover How To Grow Big Fat Composting Worms And Produce More Organic Worm Compost Faster Than Ever Before… Download Our Guide To Worm Composting Here.

.

See Also…

How To Grow A More Productive Veggie Garden… How To Turn The Food I Grow Into Healthy Hearty Meals… How To Keep Chickens, Rabbits & Other Livestock… How To Turn Herbs Into Natural Health & Wellness… How To Become More Self Sufficient In General…

Worm Facts & Worm Farming For Kids, a Unit Study

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          • Skeleton & Bones Lessons & Worksheets For Kids
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            • Labeled Skelton For Kids
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