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To Identify Your Larva, Let it Grow

We get a lot of inquiries from readers wanting identification of (not-so) creepy crawlies, and we do our best to answer these. To do this we use information such as the geographic location in which the animal was found, what food sources are readily available to the animal, whether it was found indoors or outdoors, and what it looks like. However, much of the time we are offering our very best educated guesses, because so many larva and caterpillars look alike. This is not surprising, as current estimates state that there are between 2 million and 30 million species of insect and approximately 75% of those go through a larval stage. This means that there are between 1.5 million and 22.5 million different caterpillars and larvae out there. So, some of these are bound to look alike. Identification is further complicated by the fact that many larva go through several instars (or phases), and a single animal may look quite different over time. Continue reading [...]
earthworm in dirt

Worm Survival in Lateritic Soil

A student reader recently asked us if we knew of any species of worm that can survive in lateritic soil. If we don’t know of any worms with this ability, she wonders if there is another species of decomposer that can. Continue reading [...]

Can worms see and how?

One of our readers wrote to us and asked us if worms can see and if so how do they do so. This is a question that has come up a lot with our readers. There are quite a few types of worms that are blind, but some worms have specific ways of seeing or sensing light in order to crawl their way around the soil or a specific place. Continue reading [...]
earthworm on carpet

Do Worms Regenerate or Grow Back Body Parts?

One of our readers wrote into us asking if worms could grow back body parts. This is a question that seems to be asked quite often. Many times, the question is about the regeneration of a worm and if it is cut in half, will it regenerate? This is a simple yet complex subject. Continue reading [...]
earthworm in dirt

What is a Group of Worms Called?

One of the great tics of the English language (and perhaps other languages as well) is that groups of certain animals have different names. It is for this reason that one can point to the sky and scream "murder" as a way to acknowledge the group of crows flying overhead. Worms are like any other type of animal, and in fact a group of worms can be called several different things, although how "official" any of these names are is hard to determine. So, our concern is not necessarily centered on what you should call a group of worms, but rather on what people do in fact call a group of worms. That is, our task is descriptive, not prescriptive, as the lexicographers like to say. Continue reading [...]
long skinny worm

Do Worms Live Under Paved Streets and Sidewalks?

A reader asked us an interesting question the other day: "do worms move underneath paved streets and sidewalks?" Worms are fairly ubiquitous in soil, and since there is often soil underneath concrete and asphalt, perhaps it is the case that there are worms living beneath the foundation of cities. Below we explore this question a bit, offering some speculation based on other things we know about worms. Continue reading [...]