Interesting facts about worms you may not know:
Worms are invertebrates, that
is they have a long, soft body and no back bone or legs!
They do not have a brain but do have a nerve centre
(called a ganglia). They do not have eyes but are sensitive
Worms either move by stretching
and contracting their muscles or some only move using
the movement of other creatures or the soil movement.
Worms come in all sorts of sizes
from tiny little thin things to very big ones. Guess
how big you think the largest earth worm might be?
The largest earth worm is the
giant Gippsland, it lives in Australia and can grow
to about 3 metres in length, it is a protected and endangered
species as many have been killed by farming methods.
There are hundreds of thousands
of species of worms and about 2,700 are earth worms.
Earth worms have been around for 120 million years!
That’s quite a long time, they were even around when
the dinosaurs were here!
Dendrobaena worms are native to
the UK. They live in the top 2-10 cm of the soil and have
a good and varied diet, thus why they are favourite for
Darwin described the earth
worm as “the intestines of the earth”
Did you know that a Tonne of these worms can eat a tonne
of green and kitchen waste in 1 – 4 days!!!! Not a lot
of people know that. They basically can eat their own
body weight in this time, Imagine a human of 60 kg (10
Stone) doing that!!!!
They like most things we like
but are not partial to onions, garlic leaks etc. They
also do not like anything high in acidity, so oranges,
tomatoes, grapefruit etc are not suitable for a wormery
as the increase in acidity can kill them also they just
wont eat it!
One of their favourite food is
Poo! They just love horse manure, to them this is the
same as us going for a favourite Chinese dinner!
If you think of archeologists
when they dig up ancient bodies etc there is usually
nothing left except, bones, metal or stone objects,
this is because the worms and other tiny life in the
soil eat almost everything else!
Worms are hermaphrodites, that
is to say each worm is both male and female, but they
can cross fertilize. Two worms will wriggle together,
go all wet and slimely (bit like humans) and both will
produce an egg. The ring around the worm, about 1 third
down from its head end is called the Clitellum, often
referred to as the saddle. The saddle is where the worm
eggs are made,
After mating the clitellum forms
a shell around the worm cells and “rolls” itself over
the head of the worm making the egg capsule, called
Each worm will produce between
1 and 2 cocoons per week.
Each cocoon will contain between
1 and 7 hatchlings, always an odd number usually 3 or
The eggs can lie dormant for
up to a year, hatching only when the conditions are
favourable. They like a temperature of between 15 and
When hatched the hatchlings are
tiny, about 2mm in length and the with of a fine pencil
The hatchlings develop and are
fully sexually mature at about 16 weeks; this is when
they develop their clitella and can start mating and
In 1881 Charles Darwin wrote:-
“It may be doubted whether there are many other animals
which have played so important a part in the history
of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures”