The adaptations the earthworm has made to its underground life include lacking eyes and ears that can be clogged with soil. It also has a long, tube-like, segmented body which helps it push through the soil.Continue Reading
The segments themselves, save the one near the mouth and anus, have tiny hairs that help to steady the animal as it moves. The earthworm moves by expansion and contraction.
The skin has pores that exude a fluid that keeps the earthworm's skin moist and protects it from the sharp edges of gravel or sand. The fluid also allows the worm to move easily through the soil by lubricating the tunnels that the worm itself digs. The earthworm also injects air into the tunnels as it progresses.
When the earthworm rests, its mouth is protected by a flap of skin called the prostomium. In some kinds of earthworm, this appendage can be flexible enough to grab leaves and blades of grass. The prostomium also serves as a sensory organ for the blind earthworm.
The earthworm lacks lungs and breathes through its skin. Oxygen enters the capillaries and is transported to the tissues in the body. The same thing happens with water and minerals. Many earthworms can also regenerate parts of their bodies if they've been damaged.Learn more about Worms
The excretory organs of the earthworm are the nephridia. The earthworm is an invertebrate animal called an annelid. An annelid is an animal that is made up of many rings that are joined together; each ring is called a segment. Each segment of the earthworm contains two nephridia.Full Answer >
The clitellum of an earthworm is located about one-third of the way down its body. Only sexually mature earthworms have clitella. Clitella are usually white or have an orange hue. The clitellum secretes a substance that becomes a hardened cocoon, which houses the eggs and sperm after mating.Full Answer >
Earthworms have bristles called setae on each segment of their body, that move in and out to grip the ground and push them along. The bristles work as anchors when the worm moves through underground tunnels or on the surface of the soil, and muscles in the worm’s body push it forward or backward.Full Answer >
Earthworms are all in the lumbricus genus, which makes the first part of this animal's scientific name; the second part, or species name, varies. For example, according to National Geographic, the common earthworm is lumbricus terrestris, while according to the Fairfax County Public School system, the red earthworm is known as lumbricus rubellus.Full Answer >