Dive into the Soil

By: Susan Yu Mitcham-PAP Bio-6

Objectives - Earthworm Dissection

The earthworm dissection is to help students better understand the earthworm. In this lab we will go through and learn the external and internal structure of the earthworm. Our main focus for this lab is the digestive system of an earthworm.

History of the Worm

The earthworm also known as Lumbricus terrestris spends its life digging through the soil of the earth. Its main home is your garden or any place where soil is available. The predators of the earthworm consists of birds, termites, rats, sow bugs, and snails. The earthworm's main diet is the soil and the nutrients in the soil. The earthworm loves to loosen the soil so water can move through easily. Ecological Adaptations of the earthworm include its streamlined shape body which aids the worm in moving through the soil, mucus coating that allows oxygen to pass through the skin of the earthworm while it is expose to air or under water, and lastly the muscular pharynx which helps the earthworm suck in soil to move.

SUNY-ESF / Earthworms

From the Mouth to the Other End

The digestive system consists of the mouth, pharynx, pharyngeal muscles, crop, esophagus, gizzard, intestines, and lastly the anus. Soil enters the earthworm’s mouth then it is swallowed by the pharynx with the help of the pharyngeal muscles. Then the soil passes through the esophagus that leads the soil to the crop. The food moves into the crop where it is stored and then eventually moves into the gizzard. The gizzard uses stones that the earthworm eats to grind the food completely. The food moves into the intestines as gland cells in the intestine release fluids to aid in the digestive process. The intestinal wall contains blood vessels where the digested food is absorbed and transported to the rest of the body. AND THAT'S HOW THE DIGESTIVE ORGANS WORK TOGETHER TO GET THE SOIL FROM THE MOUTH TO THE OTHER END.

Digestive System

Functions of the Digestive System


First part of the digestive system that takes in food


Grinds food


Pumps food and soil into the esophagus


Stores food


Transports nutrients and soil through the digestive system


Tube that leads food to the crop


Waste from digestion leaves through this opening

Dissection Pictures

Label the Earthworm!

Earthworm Anatomy

Things You Don't Know About the Earthworm

  • OVER 6,000 species worldwide!
  • Each worm is BOTH male and female.
  • Earthworms are born from EGGS
  • Length of an earthworm can be up to 10 FEET
  • It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of earthworms once they have taken over
  • Earthworms breathe through their SKIN
  • They can shoot lubricating fluid up to 12 INCHES
  • You have learn enough information about the earthworm that you can shamelessly tell all your friends!

Taxonomy of Earthworm







SPECIES:Lumbricus terrestris or Lumbricus rubella

Ancestory of the Earthworm

News on the Earthworm

University of Alberta discovered this spring that an earthworm invasion had taken place in parts of Alberta especially the northern forests.
(Click here to learn more about the event)

Work Cited

"Phylogeny and Adaptive Radiation." Biocyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"SUNY-ESF / Earthworms." YouTube. YouTube, 07 May 2009. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"Earthworm." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Aug. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"News." Www.theweathernetwork.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"WormWatch: Ecology." WormWatch: Ecology. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"Earthworm Anatomy." YouTube. YouTube, 03 Feb. 2012. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

" Science With Me Learn about Earthworms Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

"10 Interesting Facts About Earthworms." EcoWatch. N.p., 08 Mar. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.