Earthworm Part List

While nature works slowly in the production of topsoil, often over centuries, man, through poor agricultural practices, may deplete this valuable resource within an individual's lifetime.

In the absence of a rich population of soil animals, 500 to 1000 years may be required to create an inch of topsoil. However, under favourable conditions, earthworms, lowly creatures to many people, can speed up this process to only five years.

As agriculture, and ultimately civilization, depend on the maintenance of a fertile topsoil (Hyams, 1952; Mitchell, 1946), it is in our best interest to encourage earthworms in their soil building activities. Long before the invention of agricultural implements, earthworms ploughed the soil, mixing, tilling and building topsoil as they burrowed through the earth.

Their importance has been clearly recognized for nearly 200 years, and even in the Fourth Century B.C., Aristotle, it is said, aptly referred to earthworms as "the intestines of the earth" though he may well have been referring to their appearance rather than to their function.


But what do we know about these animals?

earthworm 1