Q:

How do earthworms breathe?

A:

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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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:

    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:

    Do earthworms have brains?

    A:

    Earthworms have brains. These brains are connected to the nerves in the skin and the muscles, allowing them to feel, move and function properly.

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  • Q:

    What is the function of nephridia in earthworms?

    A:

    Nephridia, the plural of nephridium, is a unit of the excretory system in many primitive invertebrates that is responsible for expelling the metabolic wastes of the organism. When this structure evolved it allowed for the specialization of tissues within the excretory system and eliminated the need for all of an organism's cells to be involved in the process of excreting waste by being in contact with water.

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