Why Are Worms Slimy?

earthworm

There are a lot of facts about worms that people are not aware of. Most just think of them as these slithering and disgusting creatures. But there is more to them than meets the eye.

Why the Worm is Slimy

The reason is that their bodies are lathered with mucus. This dissipates and turns into oxygen. It goes into their bodies, allowing them to breathe. In other words the creatures inhale and exhale through the skin. That’s why they need to be wet. It’s the only way they can breathe. If the mucus is removed, the earthworm will die.

Characteristics

Other important facts about worms that should be realized is that the term doesn’t just refer to one type. There are earthworms, roundworms and flatworms. Caterpillars and maggots are also sometimes included. In general usage, any creature that has a cylindrical body and is legless is classified as a worm. Other characteristics include body segments and bristles.

Other Facts and Figures

Their sizes vary greatly. The longest in the US is the Nightcrawler. It can reach lengths of up to 30 centimeters. Those in Canada can reach lengths of up to 120 cm. Some of the longest ones are in Australia. Some adult species can go beyond 300 cm. Based on current studies there are over 2,500 variants in the world today.

Other interesting facts about worms are their varying sizes. In an acre of land, there can be half a million or a million of them. Most of them live in moss, damp areas and beneath the ground. Some of them are of the parasitic type.

On the average, a typical worm can live for 13 years. But some have been known to survive for 50 years or more. Some types have as many as five hearts. Contrary to popular belief, cutting them in half doesn’t mean they will divide in two. The rear end will not survive. The one with the head will, because it will generate a new tail.

Movement

The bristles act as their legs. These body parts allow them to move around various surfaces. Another interesting fact about worms is that they are able to sense light. They are able to do this with the help of receptor cells. These are very sensitive to light and also detect vibrations in the ground. All of them can move in forward or backward directions. However the tendency is go forward.

Reproduction

The common belief is that they are asexual. More accurately however, they are hermaphrodites. Even though they possess male and female genitalia, a partner is still required for reproduction to take place.

Benefits

They may be repulsive, but these creatures perform a vital function. They can be used to remove dirt and scraps. They also help in fusing vital components in the soil. This helps plants grow. In some cultures, they are seen as delicacies and are eaten by people.

These are just some of the facts about worms. As with other organisms in nature, it goes to show that every creature has a purpose.

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