Earthworm pictures capture those wiggly, slimy characters that play an essential role in farm and country life. But what do those funny critters actually do while they're hidden away underground? Why are they so beneficial? Keep reading to find out...
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Earthworms, the silent, unsung heroes of the garden, are an integral part of the cycle of plant life. But they don't get the credit they so greatly deserve.
An earthworm is rarely seen compared to the huge amount of work these creatures do to benefit farms and gardens.
If you've have spotted one yourself squiggling through the soil just after a warm summer's rain, then you're already well aware most of us think these slimy characters aren't the most pleasant to look at. However, the role they play in farming and gardening is simply unrivaled.
Earthworms have long been seen as one of the lowest forms of life. They are impaled on lures for fishing, and are basically synonymous with disgust and contemptibility.
In the Garden
This slimy worm comes to the top of the soil after summer rainstorm. Watch out! You may become bait...
But, what most of us don't realize is that earth worms were once highly revered and even made sacred in ancient Egypt. And now, worms and their habitat continue to be intently studied by scientists trying to learn more about these seemingly simple and slimy creatures.
Boys love slimy, wiggling critters, and this youngster is no exception.
Photos of earthworms usually show them nestled in dirt from a freshly turned farm field, or making their way slowly through the wet grass, in the hands of a grinning kid, or even dangling from the end of a hungry bird's beak.
However, many of these images and pictures don't depict the incredible busy life of the earthworm that is going on behind the scenes either near the surface or as far as 12 feet down. Share your earthworm pics with us by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
Although earthworms have five hearts, no ears, eyes, or legs and are completely toothless, their mouths are strong and can perform a variety of functions despite their lack of molars or incisors. Worms drag things like leaves or dead organic matter through the soil. This natural "junk" is taken into their burrows where they methodically eat them into tiny bits at a time creating humus which improves soil fertility.
Earthworms are also rather strong. One worm can move an object that's 50 times its own body weight!
This earthworm pictures shows a bunch of earthworms
wriggling in fresh dirt.
The more than six thousand species of earthworms, also called night crawlers, field worms, orchard worms, red wigglers, and rain worms depending on their exact type or geographic location, also eat soil as they move through it. This allows them to extract nutrients from the soil.
Because the earthworm is always moving, the channels formed with all of the loosening and aerating of the soil provide the roots of plant life with essential minerals and moisture from the upper part of the earth called the subsoil.
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The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Redwing (Turdus iliacus) in breeding plumage in Iceland holds an
earthworm in its beak in this earthworm picture.
If there has been very little rain or moisture for the soil, the worms will burrow even deeper so their skin remains nice and moist. The slimy appearance we always see so prevalent in earthworm pictures is from the mucous excreted which allows them to travel so expertly throughout the soil.
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Also amazingly enough, an earthworm can eat as much as one-third of their weight in just one day, which would be the equivalent of a 150 pound human eating 50 pounds of food in 24 hours. With all of that eating going on there's bound to be an equally large amount of waste, which are known as earthworm castings.
The castings, also called vermicompost, vermicast, worm humus, or worm manure, are laden with minerals and there's no denying earthworms certainly play a great role in composting and organic gardening.
Some people have even made worm farming a lucrative business and spend their time raising these peculiar farm animals for gardening and agricultural purposes as well as for bait. Worm farms are peppered all around the U.S. They often offer tours for kids or those interested in learning more about these unpaid, unappreciated workers of the farm and garden.
Earthworm Pictures in Nature
This earthworm is above ground for a rare moment, moving through damp leaves before finding a soft spot to return into the earth.
Miniature earthworm kits are available that come complete with live earthworms for kids' science projects. A small tank with glass walls let's youngsters get a first hand view of earthworm pictures and what earthworms are actually doing underground.
You'll find photos of earthworms taken from all around the world, except in the coldest of climates in both the north and south where they cannot live. They may range in size from just an inch or two to as long as several feet. In fact, the largest earthworm on record was a whopping 22 feet long, a size most of us, hopefully, will never find out in our garden!
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