Worm Anatomy

What is a worm?

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once defined worms as:
The intestines of the soil

This isn’t far off the mark.

Basically an earthworm is a large digestive, muscular tube that tunnels it’s way through the soil, consuming at one end and depositing at the other.

Each worm consists of:

  • A mouth, but no teeth.
  • A throat, but no ears or eyes.
  • A capillary system located under the worm’s skin, which acts as the worm’s lungs.
  • Setae, which are small spines that are projected from the body wall by muscles and act as anchors. These also play a role in reproduction.
  • A heavy-duty digestive system, in which enormous quantities of beneficial organisms are incubated and deposited into the soil with the castings.
  • Has 5 pairs of hearts, but no backbone.
  • A body consisting of 200-400 muscular rings.
  • Kidney type organs called nephridia.
  • A brain. (Experiments have shown the removal of the brain causes only slight locomotive change. Both worms with a brain, and those without, perform at essentially the same rates. – Miriam – F. Bennett)
  • Clitellum- which is associated with the formation of cocoons and is a glandular portion of the epidermis,
  • Varying kinds of pores. These are used for reproduction and excretory purposes.
  • A body cavity that is filled with fluid.
  • Nerves, muscles, and cells.
  • Calciferous glands for neutralising food.
  • A crop and gizzard containing stones for grinding up their food.