Q:

How do flatworms move?

A:

Quick Answer

Flatworms move in various ways. Some use muscular movements of their bodies, whereas others have soles underneath for locomotion. Some spit mucus and use it as a rope to pull themselves. Some aquatic species use their cilia, or small moving hairs, to swim. Some burrow, anchoring with their rear ends and moving their heads. Parasites within hosts use suckers, hooks or spines.

Continue Reading
How do flatworms move?
Credit: John Tann Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Flatworms are primitive life forms. They lack respiratory or circulatory systems and have no internal cavities except guts, and the smallest of them even lack guts. Simple diffusion enables them to absorb nutrition and oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Many types have no anus and expel undigested material through the mouth, while others have multiple anuses. They are bilaterally symmetrical, which means the left and right sides of their bodies mirror each other. Most have specific tops and bottoms, as well as head and tail sections. Many are shaped like leaves or ribbons.

Parasitism by tapeworms is a serious cause of disease in humans and livestock. Apart from malaria, it is the main cause of parasitic disease in tropical countries. Though tapeworm infestation is not usually fatal in humans, it damages internal organs, impairs the development of children, and causes epilepsy, bladder cancer, vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia. Efforts to control tapeworm parasitism are hampered by modern trends towards organic farming and lightly cooked seafood and meat.

Learn more about Worms

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does an earthworm move?

    A: 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 anch... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do shrimp move?

    A: There are three different ways that shrimp move. While feeding on the ocean floor, shrimp use one set of legs known as periopods. However, these legs are f... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do inchworms live?

    A: Inchworms are the larvae of a large group of insects called the geometer moths, which are found in temperate climates throughout North America. Their main ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do worms eat?

    A: The diet of a worm is based off its location, but worms traditionally eat everything from dead leaves to melon rinds and even cardboard. Studies show that ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore