How do earthworms reproduce?

How do earthworms reproduce?
Question asked by Betty

Earthworms are simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means they have reproductive organs for males and females. Despite this, they are unable to reproduce by themselves. To achieve this, two earthworms must unite to share their sperm and ensure a successful pairing and mating.

The mature worms intertwine with each other, head to tail, bringing their sexual organs into contact. The male and female cells then fertilise each other respectively with the sharing of sperm.

If this mating goes well, then all eggs will become fertilised. Once completed, each earthworm goes off on its own.

The whole process can take around a day, and they will perform this function once every ten days. Worm populations of herds can double once every two to three months. The incubation period from mating to laying eggs is around 27 days.

Earthworms don’t lay eggs but produce cocoons holding several fertilised eggs. The cocoons are placed into the soil, which develop into young worms.

The number of eggs within each cocoon can vary and is reflective of species and ranges between just one to sometimes twenty. Equally, this reflects on the number of cocoons produced each year which might number between four to seventy. Deeper earth species tend to make less.
Hope this helps with your question Betty.

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

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