In addition to being an animal class that often causes a bit of disgust in people, earthworms have other particular characteristics that deeply affect those who go to know these animals a little more in-depth.
Amount of food ingested
Earthworms ingest a quantity of food equal to 90% of their body weight daily. And expel between 50 and 60% of it, transforming it into humus. An excellent organic fertilizer rich in nutrients for the soil and plants: In addition to containing fungi and beneficial bacteria, improves water retention and has a neutral pH. It is for this reason that they often choose to use them as “machines” of natural origin for the production of fertilizer.
Characteristics of earthworms
Earthworms are annelids that inhabit swampy and humid soils, where a large amount of organic matter is found. They have an enlarged larva shape, with a cylindrical body divided into segments or metamers. They measure from 5 to 30 cm in length, weigh between 1 and 1.5 grams. And are pink, brown, or reddish-brown in color?
An ally of plants
In the natural habitat, their life consists in spending most of the day underground, where they dig tunnels in search of organic matter to ingest. The tunnels that earthworms dig in the soil are very beneficial for plants as they renew the soil air making it more fertile. Earthworms are therefore very important for plant growth.
The feeding process
To feed, earthworms suck up earth rich in organic matter through their mouth. Since they are toothless, the ingested earth passes directly to the pharynx, esophagus. And from there to the stomach, where it is stored and then slowly moved to the gizzard, where the food is shredded into small parts for better digestion. The food then passes to the intestine, where digestion and absorption of nutrients take place. The undigested food, together with the earth, is then expelled through the anus (the substance known as humus that is good for plants and is collected by humans).
Importance of earthworms
The existence of earthworms is fundamental because the mere fact that they exist makes agriculture possible: From an ecological and natural point of view, production in agricultural areas improves thanks to the fact that the land is ready for cultivation. The main feature of these earthworms is that they can penetrate the earth to great depths. And also ensure that the earth does not tighten. The earth itself benefits from the secretions left by earthworms. Soils with numerous earthworms are quite fertile and well plowed and for this reason, farmers appreciate them very much.