Worms, stemming from the Old English word wyrm, are typically legless, smooth, slender, invertebrates. Worms play important ecological roles as soil conditioners and parasites to crops, animals, and humans. Free-living worms are not found on land, but rather, burrowed underground, in marine, or freshwater environments while parasitic worms are typically found in the intestines of their host. Worms range in size, from microscopic to nearly 190 feet. Worms typically refers to earthworms, bristle worms, roundworms, flatworms, bootlace worms, arrow worms, priapulid worms, and insect larvae. Interestingly, the blindworm is actually a limbless, snakelike lizard, despite its misnomer.
Worms are able to eat their body weight every day and tend to eat their food as it starts to decompose. A worm’s diet typically consists of dead plants, some living plants, dead animals, animal feces, bacteria, fungi, and microscopic worms.
Worms have both male and female sexual organs making them hermaphrodites. Worms are able to reproduce by lining themselves up at their heads and attaching themselves at the clitella. A cocoon is then formed at the clitella band. Each cocoon has 1 to 5 worms, and will hatch when the conditions are right.
Worms breathe oxygen by absorbing it through its skin. While raining, soil may get too much rain and oxygen in the soil will run out. This causes worms to come out when it rains. Worms are only safe above ground when it is dark, since they run the chance of being eaten by a bird, or being killed by the sun.