The Earthworm

There are always earthworms in the soil whenever I dig around the garden; they are harmless worms – approximately 11 inches (28 cm) long, that eat dirt and other organic matter.

When we raised chickens some years ago, I used to bring a couple of these earthworms to my hens; they would shriek with delight when they saw the worms, before they gobbled them up. Earthworms are also called angleworms and night crawlers.earthwormEarthworms are soft, having pinkish-red or brown, somewhat slimy skin. They consist of a series of segments which, when cut off, may regenerate or grow again.

My mum always said to save the earthworms when gardening, since they were good for the soil. This is true since their burrowing bring subsoil to the top where it can be mixed with topsoil. Their burrows allow air to penetrate the soil, and provide channels through which water may enter or be drained. Further, earthworms secrete slime that contains nitrogen which helps hold soil particles together. This excrement also contains minerals which plants use as nutrients.  earthwormI understand that earthworms are hermaphrodites, having both male and female organs. To reproduce, two earthworms will mate and exchange sperm in order for each of them to produce an egg capsule. Earthworms are cold blooded creatures that can live from four to 10 years.

I read that earthworms breathe through their skin; they also do not have any eyes, limbs, or teeth. They, however, have special photosensitive cells/receptors that enable them to differentiate between different levels of light, and they eat by swallowing soil with their strong mouth muscles.  earthwormIn some countries, earthworms are eaten as delicacies known as Noke. Read more details about earthworms here.


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