Do worms have mouths?

Do worms have mouths?
Question asked by Trisha of Learning Life

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

A question asked recently by Trisha concerned the presence of mouth, eyes and teeth in worms and what they have.

They don’t have eyes, and they don’t have teeth. They do have a mouth, a brain and a heart too. They don’t have legs, just in case you were ever curious …

The prostomium of an earthworm is the very first section of the worm, and the mouth is found here. A sensory receptor above the mouth is tuned into everything around the worm and can determine through sensation and vibration – light, dark, and alien bodies like liquids or chemicals. It will inform the earthworm whether it is above or below ground level.

These receptors interpret the environment in which the worm moves and transmit information to its brain, guiding and navigating it through the terrain. The receptors can also determine and assist the worm in ensuring it doesn’t dry out in the sunshine and sense any changes in the temperature and weather conditions.

When l lift the lid off the farm during the day and expose the occupants to daylight, their cells sense this change and immediately dive under the bedding.

Do worms have a mouth? Yes, they do. They don’t have teeth, though – they suck their food.

They have a muscular mouth, and the prostomium can help direct the food they consume into their pharynx or throat, which takes hold of the food, coats it with saliva, and pushes it further into the oesophagus crop for storage before it is digested into the gizzard.

Then it is broken down further, enters the intestine, and is further broken by enzymes. Some of the nutrients are absorbed by the worm, but the rest is discarded as waste through the anus and becomes poop-worm castings. In essence, an earthworm is one long efficient digestive tube. It eats, digests and poops.

Earthworms breathe through their skin as they do not have lungs. Their skin needs to be moist at all times. A worm is covered in mucus, and this helps them absorb oxygen.

If their skin dries out, they will die. During warmer weather and excessive heat, one of the challenges l faced was keeping the farms moist but not wet to avoid unnecessary deaths through dryness. In the new Tower Farm setups, l have a dark bedding sheet used as a top cover for the entire internal farm. The heat from the vast number of earthworms is sufficient to produce internal moisture continually and always keeps the soils moist.

An earthworm has five hearts which pump blood around the worm. The worm’s brain is not a complex organism but connected to other organs and nerves, which control its movements and responses.

So there we go – do worms have mouths?

Yes, they do.

Anatomy of an Earthworm
Anatomy of an Earthworm by Poster My

Hope this helps with your question Trisha and thanks for asking.


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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