Q:

How do earthworms breathe?

A:

Quick Answer

Earthworms breathe air through their skin, which diffuses oxygen from the surrounding environment. Moisture is vital for the earthworm, as it allows oxygen to be retained while carbon dioxide is expelled. The mucus secreted by the earthworm's skin assists in preventing desiccation, a state of extreme dryness.

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Full Answer

Earthworms vary in size by species. Some species measure less than half of an inch in length, while others can grow to nearly 10 feet long. All earthworms are hermaphroditic and reproduce sexually. Earthworms are extremely beneficial to soil quality due to their burrowing and their consumption of dead organic material. The earthworm's importance in ecology also extends to its place in the food chain, where many other animals depend upon it for sustenance.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Do earthworms have skeletons?

    A:

    According to Nature Watch, the earthworm does not have a backbone and therefore has no skeleton. This segmented creature is classified as an invertebrate. The earthworm is composed of a mucous-like epidermis and various segments that help define its structure.

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  • Q:

    Do earthworms have eyes?

    A:

    Earthworms do not have eyes, but they are equipped with cells that can sense changes in the intensity of light as well as cells that can respond to and measure touch. Earthworms are very primitive organisms who do not need to depend on sight to feed as they spend their lives simply moving through the soil and getting their nutrients from it.

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  • Q:

    Where do earthworms live?

    A:

    Earthworms are native to Europe and have spread in range to western and central Asia, as well as North America. They typically can be found in two ecophysical areas: above or below the soil. Above-soil earthworms consume decaying vegetable matter. Sub-soil earthworms create either horizontal or vertical burrows.

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  • Q:

    How do earthworms respire?

    A:

    Worms do not have lungs, but they have developed a way to breathe by drawing oxygen directly into their circulatory systems. When a worm is moist, it absorbs air through its mucus-coasted skin by dissolving it.

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