Worms are as common in the soil as ants and cockroaches are in the house. Worms are not just red wiggly things that we usually see in nature. There are many kinds of worms and most of them are beneficial to the world because they help with soil production and recycling. Therefore, worms are part of an essential ecosystem in the soil. They process organic matter, releasing it for use by plants, and help to cycle nutrients throughout the soil and water. Because of this vital role in the soil’s health, worms can be a key indicator of how healthy your garden is overall.
As worms are beneficial animals in our nature, there is no reason for kids to be afraid and disgusted of this humble animal. Therefore, we have prepared some interesting facts about worms for kids that will make them fall in love with worms. From the unique worm’s ability to the unusual worm’s habits, those amazing facts below will surely broaden your knowledge. Let’s check this out!
1. Most Worms Don’t Have Teeth
Worms’ mouths are powerful and muscular, but they lack teeth. They eat decaying flora, soil, dead animals, and even some living species, among other things. Food is directed into the mouth by a liplike extension over the mouth, which is grabbed by the muscular throat. Food then coats with saliva and is forced down by the esophagus into the crop, where it is stored before moving on to the gizzard.
Meanwhile, Glycera dibranchiata, often known as bloodworms, is a poisonous, long worm that can grow teeth if given enough melanin. The worms, which are found on both coastlines of North America, have four sharp fangs and a surly demeanor.
2. Too Much Sunlight Will Paralyze Them
Worms prefer to be in the dark and are light-sensitive. They don’t have eyes, but their skin can detect light. They will also shift away from light in order to keep their skin moist. Worms will become paralyzed and unable to burrow back into the darkness after being exposed to light for roughly an hour.
The translucent worms were given a light-sensitive substance by the researchers. The chemical turned blue when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, paralyzing the worms. Instead of using visible light, the chemical became colorless, and the paralysis was broken.
3. Worms Breathe Through Skin Without Lugs
All living things require oxygen to survive. Worms don’t have a nose or a mouth, thus they can’t breathe through them. Worms also do not have lungs, but instead have a thin porous skin that allows oxygen from the air to pass through.
The mucus on a worm’s epidermis aids in oxygen dissolution. As a result, the worm bin’s moisture level must be sufficient. Suffocation occurs when a worm dries out. Similarly, worms drown if their surroundings are too wet.
4. Worms Can Regenerate Their Body
The presence of stem cells called neoblasts is required for worm regeneration. These cells are found throughout the worm’s body. They are activated when a section of the worm is amputated, allowing the tissues to regrow. Meanwhile, pluripotent stem cells make up one-fifth of their bodies and have the ability to grow into any new bodily part.
If the worm is sliced behind the clitellum, its head may live and rebuild its tail. However, the worm’s original tail will be unable to produce a new head or the remainder of its important organs, and will perish.
5. Worms Have 5 Hearts
Mammals and reptiles have a multi-chambered heart, whereas worms don’t. They only have five pairs of aortic arches running the length of their bodies. Even though they do not meet the traditional definition of a heart, which comprises one organ with many chambers, these five pairs of aortic arches can be referred to as five hearts.
Because worms are cold blooded, they are unable to control their body temperature in the same way that mammals can. This means they will have the same body temperature as their surroundings. As a result, they require five hearts to pump oxygenated blood throughout their bodies.
6. Worms Have Tiny Hairs On Each Segment
Each segment of a worm has microscopic bristles called setae. The setae help the worm travel through the dirt and allow it to grab the earth around it. The setae are extremely tough and are made of the same substance as our fingernails.
Except for the first and last segments of the worm’s body, each segment includes four pairs of setae. To crawl forward, the worm anchors the front of its body with its setae and shortens its body by contracting its longitudinal muscles.
7. Worms Have Both Male and Female Organs
Worms do not produce eggs. Instead, they make cocoons with numerous fertilized eggs within. Worms have both male and female reproductive organs, making them hermaphroditic. To mate, worms line up face to face and share sperm from the clitellum.
Within the first two or three months of life, they develop sex organs and achieve full size in about a year. They are capable of both male and female functions, and they mate every 7 to 10 days. The mating process takes around 24 hours.
8. Adult Breeding Worm Will Have A Signature Band
Adult breeding worms are distinguished by a characteristic ring-shaped band called a clitellium. It’s in charge of creating a new tube of mucus. This band is transmitted forward to the worm’s mouth end.
The mucus flows over the sacs housing the worm’s own eggs, which attach to the slime as it moves forward. In the slime tube, the eggs and sperm come into contact, and if all goes well, the eggs are fertilized. The slime band is eventually wriggled off the worm’s head, making a lemon-shaped cocoon to hold the four to twenty worm eggs that the common worm generally lays.
9. Baby Worms Hatch From Cocoons
A juvenile earthworm develops inside the egg until it is ready to hatch. The egg is encased in a cocoon, which is a type of egg coating. The number of eggs in a single cocoon varies by species, ranging from one to twenty in earthworm species.
Usually cocoons are lemon shaped and yellowish gold colored. Before hatching, the hatchlings inside the cocoon must mature for up to 11 weeks. Cocoons can lie inactive for years, waiting for the ideal conditions.
10. The World’s Longest Earthworm
Microchaetus rappi of South Africa is the world’s longest earthworm. On a route between Alice and King William’s Town in 1967, a huge specimen measuring 21 feet in length when fully extended and 0.8 inch in diameter was discovered.
The location where it was first documented was labeled as ‘Cape,’ a southern South African territory. They were described as being nearly 4 feet long, 6 feet long when stretched out, and “about as thick as one’s fingers” when they surfaced after heavy rain.
11. The Have Fast Food Processors
Worms are quick food processors, able to digest half of their body weight in a single day. The digestive system of a worm is a tube that runs straight from the front of the mouth to the back. Moisture softens their food, as do bacteria that break it down, making it faster to digest.
Each day, 2,000 worms would be required to process the average food waste from a family of four. To be more specific, composting 1 pound of garbage requires 2 pounds of worms 24 hours.
12. Worms Are Older Than Dinosaurs
In general, earthworms precede all animals and have existed for over 500 million years. Dinosaurs initially arose roughly 231 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era. Moreover, the discovery of fossilized worm tunnels going back to the Cambrian period, 270 million years before the advent of dinosaurs, was reported in the scientific journal Geology.
The Cambrian sea bed in the deep ocean was assumed to be unfriendly to animal life because it lacked sufficient oxygen to support it. The ancient worms, on the other hand, had lived in the worm tunnel during that period. It’s a place where worms resided and ate the sediment that isn’t apparent to the naked eye.
13. They Consist of 90% Water
Worms are made up of 90% water. Humans, on the other hand, are around 75% water. Because the worm’s body is around 90% water, it will swiftly shrivel and decompose into the compost without proper moisture. As a result, maintaining moist conditions is vital to their survival.
To ensure that your worms can effectively dissolve oxygen into their circulation through their skin, keep them moist. The moisture content of your worm farm should be kept between 60 and 85 percent.
14. Too Much Protein Will Deform Them
The occurrence of protein poisoning, commonly known as sour crop, is one of the most fascinating worm facts. If worms consume too much protein, they may have difficulty digesting it. Because of the acidity, the food in the worm’s intestines may begin to ferment.
Gasses can build up in the worm’s intestines, causing irreversible harm. The worms may become distorted and resemble a string of pearls as a result of this. In most circumstances, you may avoid this scenario by not overfeeding your worms.
15. You Can Pet Earthworms
Because worms dwell underground, a pet earthworm may not appear to be the most interesting animal on the planet. It is, however, the most stealthy pet a child can have! Your pet can reside in a worm box, window box, potted plant, or even in the yard.
For those who want to keep a closer eye on their pet, there is a worm farm, which is ideal for observing the pet worm at work and play. However, you should give enough nutrition to the worm farms regularly. To survive, all earthworm species also require moist soil conditions.