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How do earthworms live?

An earthworm moving through the soilAn earthworm moving through the soilEarthworms are long, thin, soft-bodied invertebrate animals that live in the soil. They have no legs, eyes or ears. Earthworms are shaped like bendy tubes divided into segments. They breathe in oxygen through their skin. Adult earthworms have a swelling around their middle. This is where its eggs are stored.



Earthworm above groundEarthworm above ground

Close-up view of earthworm bristlesClose-up view of earthworm bristles

Movement

Except for the front and rear ones, each segment of an earthworm is covered with tiny bristles. To move through the soil it first shortens its body, anchors itself to the soil with its bristles, then makes itself longer to haul itself along. Its body is covered in slime to make the passage through the soil easier.

An earthworm can eat up to one third of its body weight in soil and dead plant material in a single day.

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