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Sep 22

Ten Interesting Facts . . . . Worms

Earthworm1. Worms have not always lived in America. Many scientists believe that worms living in America were killed during the Ice Age approximately 10,000 to 50,000 years ago. During the 1600’s and 1700’s, Europeans brought worms to North America as they were forming the colonies. This was quite by accident. Colonists wanted to bring plants from their native countries to the New World. The worms were living in the dirt that surrounded the plants that came over. Just think, if worms had not been brought to the New World, American soil would be very poor.

2. Some people think worms are bad for the garden. They have seen damage created by pests. Cockroaches, termites, beetles, and silverfish love to eat paper and the binding of books. Malaria is spread to thousands of people each year through mosquito bites. Fleas carry bacteria which can cause humans to get sick when bitten. It’s no wonder that people think earthworms are harmful as well.

3. Earthworms vary greatly in size. Some are only an inch long while others are many feet long. The Australian giant earthworms average about ten feet in length. The largest earthworm ever found measured 22 feet from anterior to posterior. In North America, the largest common night crawlers are only about 12 inches.

4. Some earthworms receive their names based on their behavior. The night crawler comes up to the surface at night. The angleworm is often used for bait by fisherman. The rain worm leaves the water soaked soil after storms.

5. Earthworms breathe through their skin.

6. Baby worms hatch from eggs fully formed. They can live up to eight years although one to two years is the norm.

7. Earthworms eat mostly leaves. Their digestive system is a tube that runs from their mouths to the rear portion of their bodies. Worms move nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen into the soil. In fact, some gardeners buy earthworms and place them in their gardens.

8. While earthworms are extremely beneficial to farmlands, they can cause harm to northern forests. Northern forests have a cushion of decaying leaves called duff which is beneficial to young trees and insects. When earthworms move through the duff, they eat it up leaving young saplings and insects without needed nutrients.

9. Hairs on each segment of the earthworm help it move through the soil.

10. There are about 6,000 species of worms.

Classification of Worms

Classification

Characteristic

Example

Platyhelminthes

flatworms

tapeworms

flukes

Platyhelminthes have flat, ribbon or leaf-shaped body with a pair of eyes at the front.

flatworm

flatworm

Nematoda

threadworms

roundworm

hookworms

Nematoda are difficult to distinguish.

More than half are parasitic.

hookworms

hookworms

Annelida

earthworms

bristle worms

Annelida have bodies which are divided into segments or rings.

earthworm

earthworm

Sources of Worm Information:

 

 

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Worms.

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“Ten Interesting Facts . . . . Worms” would be a great close activity to add to your How to Eat Fried Worms unit. You can get this unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.

How to Eat Fried Worms

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2 comments

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  2. Kirby

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