Earthworms – Class 11 | Chapter – 7 | Short Notes Series PDF

An earthworm can be defined as a segmented worm that belongs to the phylum Annelida. They are terrestrial invertebrates and are usually found in moist soil and feed on organic matter. They are also called farmer’s friends because the faecal deposit of worms helps to increase the fertility of the soil and the burrowing helps the soil to aerate properly, increasing fertility and burrowing helps in the proper aeration of the soil.

  • Earthworms are cosmopolitan in conveyance. 
  • They are tracked down in soggy soil. 
  • According to Darwin, one section of land might contain 50,000 worms. 
  • They are found 2 to 10 feet in the dirt, so they are called earthworms. 
  • Their rearing season is from July to October. 
  • Nightcrawlers are portioned, spineless creatures that are ruddy brown in variety. 
  • Being earthly, it, for the most part, possesses the upper layer of the clammy soil. 
  • It is additionally fossorial. For example, it tunnels through the dirt and lives inside tunnels made in damp soil. 
  • They feed on natural matter present in the dirt, and the undigested substances are removed as castings. 
  • The openings of the night crawler can be perceived by the presence of castings called pellets. Worms are by and large referred to as ranchers’ companions as the waste stores of night crawlers assist in expanding the fruitfulness of soil and tunneling supports satisfactory air circulation of the dirt. 
  • They are found all around the world and range from ocean level to a height of 3000m. 
  • Nonetheless, it is more plentiful during the blustery season. 
  • The worm is nighttime in nature, meaning it stays dynamic around evening time.

Classification of Earthworm

  • Phylum-Annelids (metamericanized and typically lengthened worm-like)
  • Class-Clitellata (The division was particular. No parapodia head, nothing special. Essentially an earthbound worm,)
  • Order-Haplotaxida or Lumbriculida
  • Species-Posthuma

The different types of worms are as per the following

  • Megascolex-Found in South India.
  • Dravida—Found in South India.
  • Eutyphaeus-Found in North India
  • Lumbricus-Found in Europe. Most normal types of worms

Morphology of Earthworm

Earthworms possess a segmented tube-shaped body that is reddish-brown in colour. The body is precisely divided into small segments. The dorsal side holds a dark line of blood vessels whereas the ventral side comprises genital openings. The interior end is distinguished by the mouth and the prostomium, which is the organ that helps in the process of burrowing.

A glandular tissue called clitellum is present in segments 14–16 of a matured earthworm. This helps us to distinguish the mouth and the tail ends. The body is said to be distinguished into three segments, clitellum- prepatellar, clitellar, and postclitellar.

The earthworm has the capability of carrying both males as well as female sex organs.  Four pairs of spermathecal apertures are accommodated in segments 5–9. The fourteenth segment accommodates Eid the female genital pore whereas a pair of male genitals is held in the 18th segment. Except in the first, last, and clitellum segments, an S-shaped Setae is present which contributes to the locomotion in the earthworm.

Anatomy of Earthworm

Anatomy of Earthworm

The body of the earthworm is externally covered by a thin layer of non-cellular cuticle, two muscle layers, and the coelomic epithelium, which is the inner layer, is sheathed above which lies a layer of the epidermis, and on the top lies the cuticle. The epithelium comprises glandular columnar epithelium, which is present in a single layer. 

An earthworm’s body is made up of a digestive tube enclosed within a thick cylindrical muscular tube. The body is separated into segments, with furrows on the surface indicating where each segment begins and ends. The mouth is enclosed by the first segment, which features a fleshy, muscular lobe on top.

Reproductive System of an Earthworm

Earthworms are said to be monoecious or hermaphrodite, that is both male and female reproductive organs are present in the same individual, but self-fertilisation does not occur as the male and female reproductive organs do not mature at the same time. When the testis matures earlier than the ovaries, this condition is called protandry. Hence, cross-fertilization takes place which is followed by cocoon formation. Following Listed Below are the parts of the male reproductive system:-

  • Two pairs of the testis:- One pair of the testis is held each in the 10th and 11th segments. 

  • Vasa Deferentia:- Two pairs of vasa deferentia are present. Up to the 18th segment, each side of vasa deferentia runs very close to each other. In the 18th segment, both vasa differentia of each side are joined to the prostate duct coming from the prostate gland. 

  • Two Pairs of Accessory Glands:- These are situated internally in the 17th and the 19th segments. During copulation, the secretion of these glands helps to keep the two worms together.

The Female Reproductive System Consists of :

  • One pair of Ovaries and Oviduct:- Between the 12th and 13th segment to the posterior surface of the septum is present a pair of white minute masses of the ovary. Behind the ovaries, there are two short tubes each laying respectively.

  • Four Pairs of Spermathecae:- In the 6–9th segments where the spermatozoa are stored.

Following is the diagrammatic representation of the reproductive system of an earthworm:-

Circulatory System of an Earthworm

The earthworms exhibit a closed type of blood vascular system; in this type of system, the blood is confined to the heart and blood vessels.

  • Heart:- There are four pairs of tubular hearts that are present in an earthworm. The lateral hearts which are the two anterior pairs of the heart are present in the 7th and 9th segments. They connect dorsal blood vessels with ventral blood vessels. In the 12th and 13th segments, the posterior two pairs of hearts known as latero-esophageal hearts are present.

  • Blood Vessels:- Following are the kind of blood vessels found in an earthworm:-

    • Dorsal Blood Vessel:- It is said to be the largest blood vessel of the body which runs mid-dorsally above the alimentary canal. The backflow of blood is prevented by the valves present in the vessel. It has the function of receiving blood from various parts of earthworms through the different connecting vessels.

    • Ventral Blood Vessels:- This doesn’t consist of any valves. The blood flows from the anterior to the poster end of the body. It has the main function of distributing blood.

  • Blood:- The blood of an earthworm is red in colour, the red colour is obtained from a protein called haemoglobin which is present in the plasma and helps in the transportation of oxygen for respiration. The blood is composed of fluid plasma and colourless blood corpuscles. The only kind of blood corpuscles, i.e., leukocytes are present in the blood of an earthworm that is phagocytic in nature, which means that it enters the body. 

  • Blood Glands:- 4th–6th segments small red-colored follicular bodies are found which are called blood glands. They are responsible for the production of haemoglobin and blood corpuscles.

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By Team Learning Mantras