Aristotle called earthworms the ‘intestine of the earth.’ Charles Darwin studied earthworms for 39 years and called them the ‘unheralded soldiers of mankind.’ Here are five interesting things you should know about earthworms.
1. Worms are expert waste and environmental managers
The humble earthworm has an experience that spans over 600 million years in waste and environmental management. It’s no wonder that sewage systems for rural areas love these waste disposal experts.
Today, Tiger Worms and other epigeic earthworms are an integral part of vermifiltration and vermicomposting systems.
2. Earthworms have a gizzard
A worm can eat its weight in a day. But since they have no teeth, earthworms can’t chew. They rely on bacteria and fungi to break down large particles of their food. Once the food is in the mouth, muscles push it to the gizzard. Grit in the gizzard grinds the food into particles that the digestive tract can manage.
3. Earthworms don’t have ears or eyes
Charles Darwin played music to his worms and concluded that they were deaf. Today, we know that earthworms lack ears and eyes. Their complex nervous system helps them to sense vibrations, light, and food.
4. Earthworms breathe through the skin
Earthworms don’t have lungs but have five pairs of hearts. Air is diffused via their skin into a network of blood vessels. They excrete mucus to keep the skin moist. A worm will die if its skin dries out.
5. Earthworms are bisexual
Although they are hermaphrodites, it still takes two earthworms to reproduce. When copulating, they join their clitella and exchange sperms. They have an enormous power of reproduction and can multiply rapidly under ideal conditions.
Worms are such fascinating and useful creatures. Earthworms are prolific waste eaters and versatile decomposers. Their actions in worm based sewage systems help treat wastewater in simple environment-friendly ways.