What Are Characteristics of Segmented Worms?

characteristics-segmented-worms Credit: Ben Didier/CC-BY 2.0

Segmented worms have multiple segments that make them bilaterally symmetrical. Each segment houses an entire set of organs. Earthworms, ragworms and leeches are some of the 22,000 species of segmented worms. Capable of living in a variety of environments, segmented worms are an extremely viable group of animals.

The mouth of the segmented worm is located in the first segment, where the digestive tract begins, and runs to the tail segment, which contains the anus. Segmented worms have fluid-fill bodies, giving them shape and structure. Most segmented worms, whether terrestrial or aquatic, burrow and feed on decaying plant material. Leeches are an exception to the typical feeding habits of segmented worms, as they are parasitic and feed on blood.