www.whyville.net Mar 27, 2004 Weekly Issue

Science Writer

Earthworm Guts

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In science class we dissected various animals including starfish, earthworms, crayfish and frogs! Though it was very gross, I learned a lot about the different systems in the body, and how complex each one is. Today I am going to share with you some of the information I learned about the earthworm!

Well first of all, earthworms are all boys and girls, so they are "shims!"  That's what I call them, anyway. The longest "shim" was 22 feet long! But most earthworms are under a foot (12 inches) long. Giant earthworms are around 10 feet and live in Australia and the northwestern area of the U.S.A.

Worms eat dirt. Dirt is good for them because it contains decayed creatures (made up of protein) and minerals. You can tell which side the earthworm's mouth is on because it looks like a snout. The rear side of the worm is pointier and doesn't have a snout.

To reproduce, mucus is formed between two worms. Each worm releases both sperm and eggs into the mucus, and then the earthworms go on with their lives and start eating more dirt. They never go back to see if their offspring survived or not. Very romantic, eh?

An earthworm usually is eaten by a bird or another animal, so their lives are pretty short. One of their predators is a flatworm called Artioposthia triangulata. When it was transported to Northern Ireland, it reduced earthworm numbers so that the island was totally cleared of them!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my article and learned a lot about earthworms.

Watching a bird hunt for worms,

softbll12 ;)


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