We think worms are pretty special creatures: We wouldn’t have worm farms if we didn’t! But apart from turning our food scraps into plant food, do you know any other amazing worm facts?
Here are some of our favorites that you can share with your friends and family to show them just how interesting worms actually are.
Worm Fact 1: How Do Worms Eat?
Worms don’t have teeth to chomp down food, but they have a mouth, and an organ called a gizzard that they use to break down food.
Worms swallow the food in front of them as they burrow along through the ground. This food enters via the mouth and then passes into their stomach.
Once in the stomach area, the worm’s gizzard breaks down the food by grinding it down. The easiest way to think about a gizzard is like two rocks rubbing against each other, or like a mortar and pestle. Gizzards break down food by pulverizing it, rather than by using digestive acids like our stomach.
This finely ground food is then passed into the worm’s intestine where it is mixed with enzymes that make the nutrients available to be absorbed by the worm’s body.
Once the nutrients are absorbed, the worm passes the waste products and all the enzymes out its end and leaves us with our lovely worm castings.
Worm Fact 2: Worms Are Hermaphrodites
Earthworms are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive parts. This means that when two worms’ mate, they both produce viable eggs.
Both the male parts of the worm deposit their sperm onto the female part of the other worm, and their eggs become fertilized.
Worm Fact 3: Worms Don’t Have Eyes
Worms have no eyes on their bodies, but they are super sensitive to light and can most definitely sense it.
They do this through cells called photoreceptors. These photoreceptors are found all over the worm’s skin, but are more concentrated on top of the worm’s body.
When the worm’s photoreceptors detect light, nerve signals are sent to the worm’s brain to dig deeper and away from the light source. For this reason, we recommend using opaque plastic containers if you plan to build your own worm farm.
Worm Fact 4: The World’s Largest Worm Is…
A species of worm in South Africa can regularly grow up to 6ft in length and in 1967, one of these worms was recorded at 21ft long. This worm holds the world record for the longest worm ever found. That’s one long worm!
There are other large species of worm, like the Giant Gippsland earthworm (up to 9ft in length) and the Oregon Giant earthworm (up to 4ft in length). Just as impressive, and on the opposite end of the scale are the extremely small worms that live inside other organisms. The smallest recorded worm is the Greeffiella, which measures only 80 micrometres (or 0.003 of an inch).
Worm Fact 5: Worms Have No Lungs
Worms don’t have lungs, but they definitely need to breathe oxygen to survive. They do this by absorbing oxygen into their bodies through their skin.
Worms secrete mucus which absorbs oxygen through a moist membrane and into the bloodstream. The worm then wiggles around and moves the blood to the tail end, where a heart pumps it back to the front.
Worms need this moisture to be maintained for them to breathe properly, which is why moisture levels in worm farms are so important.
Worm Fact 6: Worms Are Incredibly Hairy
Admittedly, they’re only fine hairs, but they’re all over the worm’s body. They’re called setae and are made from the same material that makes up our own hair and fingernails. The job of the setae, or hairs, is to help the worm ‘grip’ onto their surroundings as they move through the soil.
So there you have it! Our 6 amazing worm facts for you to wow your friends with. If you have any other great facts you’d like us to include, feel free to comment down below. For all your worm farming information, be sure to check out our other posts on the site. Happy worm farming and thanks for stopping by!
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