Jackson Hardin Vu-PAP Bio-4



  • Describe the apperance of various organisms found in the earthworm.
  • Name the organs that make up various systems of the earthworm.

Background information:

  • Mr. Squirmy has another name besides "Mr. Squirmy". He also goes by Lumbricina.
  • He lives at or under the surface of the soil. Lumbricina tends not to live in exceptionally dry or cold places.
  • Mr. Squirmy improves soil wherever he is present by providing a natural means of aeration. As he moves through the ground, he create tunnels. Air and water then pass through these tunnels to the roots of plants. They break down organic matter such as leaves and litter and excrete nitrogen-rich waste that fetilizes the soil.
  • Unfortunantly Mr. Squirmy is not friends with robins, weasels, otters, mink, frogs, pigs, raccoons, woodscocks, turtles, toads, fishermen, biology students etc. for obvious reasons
  • Lumbricina need to sustain their macho apperance so they comsume manly things like soil, decaying roots, leaves, bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Mr. Squirmy has definetly had evolutionary adaptions including his sensitivety to vibrations and secreting a mucus to help him move easier through the soil. Other adaptations including its pharynx to help him eat his food.


The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail!


There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms!



Worms don't have just one heart. They have FIVE! But their hearts and circulatory system aren't as complicated as ours -- maybe because their blood doesn't have to go to so many body parts...


Earthworms are divided into four groups, called ecotypes, each of which has a different life style.

Compost earthworms

As their name would suggest, these are most likely to be found in a compost bin. They prefer warm and moist environments with a ready supply of fresh compost material. They can very rapidly consume this material and also reproduce very quickly. Compost earthworms tend to be bright red in colour and stripy.

Epigeic earthworms

Epigeic earthworms live on the surface of the soil in leaf litter. These species tend not to make burrows but live in and feed on the leaf litter. Epigeic earthworms are also often bright red or reddy-brown, but they are not stripy.

Endogeic earthworms

Endogeic earthworms live in and feed on the soil. They make horizontal burrows through the soil to move around and to feed and they will reuse these burrows to a certain extent. Endogeic earthworms are often pale colours, grey, pale pink, green or blue. Some can burrow very deeply in the soil.

Anecic earthworms

Anecic earthworms make permanent vertical burrows in soil. They feed on leaves on the soil surface that they drag into their burrows. They also cast on the surface, and these casts can quite often be seen in grasslands. They also make middens (piles of casts) around the entrance to their burrows. Anecic species are the largest species of earthworms in the UK. They are darkly colored at the head end (red or brown) and have paler tails.


The intestine extends over two-thirds of the worm's body length!


Scientific name: Lumbrucis terrestris

•Kingdom: Animalia

•Phylum: Annelida

•Class: Clitellata

•Order: Haplotaxida

•Family: Lambricicdae

•Genus: Lumbricus

•Species: Terrestris


Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice!


If a worm’s skin dries out, it will die!

Mr. Squirmy's Evolution

  • Each segment on an earthworm’s body has a number of bristly hairs, called setae. These hairs provide some grip to help the earthworm move through the soil.
  • An earthworm has a streamlined body with no antennae or fins or arms or legs! This streamlined shape is an adaptation to living in narrow burrows underground and the need to move easily through the soil.
  • An earthworm has circular muscles that surround each body segment. It also has longitudinal muscles that run the length of its body. These two groups of muscles work together to help the earthworm move.
  • In order to get food into its mouth, an earthworm pushes its pharynx out of its mouth to grasp hold of its food. It then pulls the food back into its mouth and wets it with saliva.
  • Many earthworms secrete a mucus that helps them to move more easily through the soil. In some burrowing species, this fluid forms a cement-like substance that lines their burrows to help keep the walls from collapsing.
  • When the environmental conditions in an earthworm’s habitat change, for example, the soil becomes too hot or too dry, many earthworms become inactive in a process called aestivation. They move deeper into the soil, coil into a tight ball, excrete a protective mucus and lower their metabolic rate in order to reduce water loss. They will remain like this until conditions become favourable again.
  • Earthworms cannot see or hear but they are sensitive to vibrations. Birds looking for food or humans collecting earthworms for bait stamp on or vibrate the ground in some manner, causing earthworms to move to the surface. Perhaps this is to escape from moles, whose primary food is earthworms.
  • Earthworms are sensitive to light. Most species spend their days in their burrows or in the soil or leaf litter. In general, you usually find them on the surface at night.
  • Earthworms lose moisture through their skin. They move out of their burrows to migrate or reproduce when the ground is wet with dew.


The smallest earthworms are about 1 centimetre long and the largest can be 4 metres long. One of the largest earthworms is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, found in one part of Australia. There are large earthworms in South Africa too!



In the Philippines there are blue earthworms and one kind in the United Kingdom is green!