Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All hail the earthworm

Don't dis earthworms: Charles Darwin doubted there were any other animals "which have played such an important role in the history of the earth." And Chuck should know--he spent 40 years studying them, and pointed out that they tilled the soil long before the plow was invented. Aerating and loosening the soil is all in a day's work for earthworms. Basically, they eat up dead things and poop out fertilizer.

Ever see a bird trying to pull a worm out of its hole? Earthworms have a surprisingly good grip with tiny bristles called setae, which can be extended and retracted to help it move.
You think opossoms have an interesting sex life? I'm a hermaphrodite.

There's plenty more to learn about earthworms and other creatures in Passionate Slugs & Hollywood Frogs: An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Backyards.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent teaser. Makes me want to pull out my book and look things up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fascinating look at earthworms! In a History documentary, the statement was made that earthworms were introduced into America by the first Europeans who planted seedlings brought from England and other ports of call. I agree, hail the lowly earthworm.

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  3. What a fascinating look at earthworms! In a History documentary, the statement was made that earthworms were introduced into America by the first Europeans who planted seedlings brought from England and other ports of call. I agree, hail the lowly earthworm.

    ReplyDelete