Q:

How does an earthworm move?

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Quick 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.

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Full Answer

Earthworms can crawl forwards or backwards, but they most often move forwards. An earthworm’s head can be distinguished from its tail by observing the direction the worm moves.

Earthworms have long, thin bodies made up of segments with one collar or band called a clitellum. The clitellum secrets the mucus which forms the cocoon needed to hold the worm’s embryos. If an earthworm is cut in half, the back half dies, but the front half can survive if it contains the clitellum and at least 10 segments behind the clitellum. The front half of the worm regenerates and adds new segments to its body. The new segments are typically lighter in color and slightly smaller in diameter than the original segments.

Earthworms do not have eyes, but they do have organs that are sensitive to light and touch. These organs help them find their way by sensing light intensity and feeling vibrations in the soil.

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