Worms belong to the Annelid family. They are an invertebrate, which means that they do not have a spine. This allows them to move freely and with an ease that is not possible for animals that have restricted movement because of their spinal column.
Many worms live in soil although there are other places that worms call home as well– they can be found virtually everywhere! Most people are familiar with earthworms, which are frequently seen after it rains. Earthworms are found in gardens, fields and farms. Other common worms include the Branding Worm who live in waste and the Flat Worm, a parasite that eats earthworms and can cause a great deal of trouble. However, there are literally thousands of worms inhabiting the earth.
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Worms do not have arms, legs or bones. They have a segmented body that is covered with very tiny hairs that are not usually visible to the naked eye. These hairs help them move. They also do not breathe through a mouth or nose. Worms absorb oxygen through their skin. This is the primary reason why they must stay moist at all times to survive.
Over 3,000 species of worms are recognized by the scientific community. Some are so small that they are not even visible under your common microscope. Worms have a very large appetite. They eat their own body weight every single day. And, they eliminate as much waste in a single day. This cycle is part of what provides needed nutrients to soil allowing for the growth of plants, trees and flowers.
Worms eat and eliminate waste as they move. As such, they spread nutrients in many places throughout the day. The food they eat is transformed into digestible nutrients in two parts of their bodies: the Crop and the Gizzard. Nutrients that are vital to the survival and well-being of the worm are then absorbed through the worm’s intestines.
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When earthworms are present, it is a sign that the soil they inhabit is healthy and vibrant. When parasitic worms are present, it is important that measures are taken to get rid of them. Many worms are easily identified by looking at pictures of worms along with the location of the worm. For example, your common Branding Worm is not likely to be found in your garden.
Worms are not the most pleasant of animals by appearance but they have an important function in the life cycle of the planet–they provide an important restorative element to soil.