What if YOU Were an Earthworm

By:Lucy Potts

Your Habitat Would Be...

Most earthworms live under or at the surface of the soil. There are two key factors that influence their choice of where to live, climate and vegetation. Earthworms like to live in warm, wet climates. You will not find many worms in dry cold climates because they really cannot live there. Worms breathe through their skin, but they must stay moist to breathe because the air dissolves on the mucus of their skin. There are three main places earthworms live. Surface, topsoil, and subsoil dwelling earthworms each have different characteristics. For example, subsoil dwellers are milky white in color because they do not see much light. If you were an earthworm, where would you live?
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Your Adaptations Would Be...

Earthworms have many unique adaptations. The structure of an earthworm is very different from other animals. They don't have legs, so to move through the soil they have tiny bristly hairs that are called setae. The streamlined shape of an earthworm helps them to live in narrow burrows underground. It also helps them move more easily through the soil. To get food, earthworms do not have hands or teeth to grab things with or chew with. Instead, earthworms push their pharynx out to get food. Earthworms also have adaptations that help them survive in their changing environments. If the soil where the earthworm is living becomes too dry or warm, the worm will go through a process called aestivation. This is kind of like worm hibernation. The worm will curl up into a ball, excrete a protective mucus, and lower its metabolic rate. It will remain this way until conditions around them improve. Earthworms also have adaptations for their senses and movement as well. They are told below in the lifestyle of a worm. Don't you think their adaptations sound cool?

Earthworm Life Cycle

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Your Life Style Would Be...

Earthworms are very important to our environment. They are decomposers and they help fertilize our gardens. Earthworms eat about 1/3 of their body weight everyday. They eat things like dirt, and different decomposing plants, such as leaves. The other main thing earthworms do during the day is burrowing. They make new homes for themselves, or make their current living space a place they want to stay. You know how water seeps into the ground when it rains? Well this is mostly because of worms burrows.

Moving- Moving around through the day would be very different if you were an earthworm from being a human. Because they don't have legs or arms, they have to adapt. First they grip the soil with their back or tail, the part farthest away from the ring near their heads. Then the worm will squeeze their circular muscles to get longer. This moves the head forward. Then they do this process with the head gripping the soil, and the worm moves forward.

Breathing- If you were a worm, you would have to keep your body very moist. This is because worms breathe through their skin. Earthworms use the mucus on their skin to breathe. The air dissolves into the mucus and then goes into the worm.

Hearing and Seeing- Earthworms have no ears. They can sense vibrations through their body though, so they know when animals are around them. These worms also have no eyes. Instead they have light receptors so that they can tell when they are in the dark vs. the light.

Heart and Brain- Earthworms have five hearts, one for each section of their body. Their circulatory system is much simpler than a humans. Most scientists believe that is because they have so many hearts. Earthworms do have a brain. It connects with nerves from their skin and muscles. They also have two different types of muscles. Their outer layer muscles are circular muscles which help them move. The inner muscles are longitudinal.

Reproduction- Earthworms do not have to be boy and girl to reproduce. All earthworms have male and female reproductive organs, but they cannot fertilize their own eggs. So they still need a mate to reproduce.

Inside an Earthworm

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Earthworm moving along....