are such a good food source that spies and undercover military
people sometimes eat them.
(North America, Europe,
Scientists believe that earthworms were probably brought to the United
States by European settlers. They
are located all over the world now and have adapted
to where they live.
can be from an inch long to twelve feet long but most are from eight to
ten inches. Their body is
smooth, reddish-brown, and is made up of a tube that looks like it’s
inside another tube. They don’t
have eyes or ears but do sense heat, light and touch. Since the
earthworm doesn’t have lungs or gills, it breathes through its skin.
around by stretching out their front body and pushing through the soil.
Then they pull their back parts up toward their front half so they
aren’t stretched anymore. They
begin to do this again. That is how
they move from place to place.
hermaphrodites which means that they are male and female at the same time.
We thought that was strange but then it got even stranger when we
found out that it still needs another worm to make eggs. The eggs
are laid in a cuff-like part that goes around the worm body.
The cuff slides up and off of the worm’s body and forms a cocoon.
The earthworms hatch in a few weeks.
are important to the land. They
loosen up the soil and put air into it. The soil grows things
better because of this. They
eat the dirt as they crawl through it.
Their bodies digest the plant parts of it and get rid of the rest.
This also makes the soil better.
other animals—have learned to adapt to where they live.
They are hibernators and estivators.
When it starts to get cold, the worm will dig down below where
frost will reach them—sometimes seven or eight feet into the ground.
They stay there until it warms up outside and then they come back
up to the surface.
Just the opposite, worms can’t live with too
much heat, light or drought.
They go into estivation to get away from these things.
Estivation is a summer time
can’t have too much water, either. They
can drown if the soil gets soggy. Most
of the time they are in the first couple of inches of dirt and come to the
surface at night. This is why
they are sometimes called nightcrawlers.
Back to Hibernation