Earthworms

Latest Update 27th July 2015.

Earthworms.
  • An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented animal commonly found living in soil.  It feeds on dead organic matter, and its digestive system runs through the length of its body.  It achieves respiration through its skin. 
  • Earthworms are hermaphrodites each individual carrying both male and female sex organs. 
  • As an invertebrate, it lacks a skeleton, but it maintains its structure with fluid-filled coelom chambers that function as a hydrostatic skeleton.
  • Earthworms travel underground using waves of muscular contractions which alternately shorten and lengthen the body.  In all the body segments except the first, last and clitellum, there is a ring of S-shaped setae.  They help anchor the rear of the worms body as the front end is thrust forward through the soil or along its tunnels, and then the front end is anchored to allow the rear of the worms body to be drawn forward.  The whole burrowing process is aided by the secretion of lubricating mucus.  
  • This earthworm activity aerates the soil, and helps convert organic materials into plant nutrients and distributes them in the root zone.  They also work as biological "pistons" forcing air through their tunnels as they move.
In my Garden.
  • Earthworms and soil microbes play a major role in breaking down organic litter on the surface of the soil and distributing it below ground where it is converted by microorganisms into easily assimilated plant nutrients.
  • They pull the organic matter from the surface and use it as food or to plug their burrows. 
  • Once in its burrow, a worm will shred organic matter and partially digest it.
  • In addition to organic matter, earthworms ingests very small rock particles into their gizzards, where they are used to grind organic materials into a fine paste before digesting it in their intestines. 
  • When the worms excrete their castings, minerals and other nutrients are converted by microbes into a form easily consumed by plants.
  • Adding compost or aged animal manure to soil maintains this biochemical activity providing plants with abundant supplies of nutritients, without the need for synthetic chemical fertilisers. 
Information from.
  • Wikipedia.
  • eHow.com.
  • uwlax.edu
  • Picture by Author.