Earthworms are hermaphrodites (both male & female
structures) but DO NOT fertilize eggs. Mating
earthworms align body facing opposite directions &
Fertilization occurs when a specialized organ secretes a cocoon made of mucus.
The cocoon slides along the worm, picking up the eggs & sperm received from
partner. The cocoon then slips off the worm & into soil, where embryos develop.
Earthworms eat through soil, extracting nutrients as soil
passes through digestive tube. Undigested material,
mixed with mucus & secreted into digestive tract is
eliminated as casting (feces) through anus.
Earthworms are valued by farmers because they
aerate the soil & castings improve the soils texture.
Invasive earthworms in forests across Canada alter natural nutrient cycling as they
burrow through soil by mixing the upper layer of decomposing organic material
with the inorganic layers beneath. It modifies the structure of the forest floor & may
disturb the forest community. New soil may support growth of a
different plant community, which attracts different
(polys-many, chaeta – hair)
Largest group of Annelids & mostly Marine.
Live in tubes & extend