I have no legs or arms, but can make tunnels.
I have no teeth, but can break down soil.
I move up as the rain falls down.
Who am I?
Here are some ways to be a wormologist:
🪱Observe how worms move, either on a paper plate or create a worm habitat. Try to move like a worm yourself! Imagine that your body is made of segments like coils on a Slinky. Stretch out your arms so your worm is long and thin and then slink up the rest of your body so your worm is short and fat. See a diagram here.
🪱Look closely at worm body parts with a magnifying glass. Can you feel their bristly hairs? Can you find their digestive tract full of dirt (dark, squiggly line down the back). Can you tell which end is the worm’s front, and which end is the worm’s back? Here’s a diagram to help.
🪱Try worm charming: vibrating the ground with a stick or garden tools to mimic the vibrations of predator moles. These vibrations cause worms to slink to the soil surface to escape!
🪱Be a book worm! Here are a few wormy books to explore:
–Worm Weather by Jean Taft
–Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
–Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer
–Yucky Worms by Vivian French
“Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than humans would at first suppose.” — Charles Darwin in his final and best-selling book The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms (1881)
*Please keep worms in annual ecosystems such as gardens, where they can be helpful, and not in perennial ecosystems such as forests, where they can pose a threat to ecosystem health by consuming the organic top (duff) layers of soil and reducing biodiversity.
While all earthworms in Vermont are non-native (as the glacial ice that retreated approximately 12,000 years ago removed any native earthworms that may have lived in our forest), the recent introduction of Jumping Worms have been especially detrimental – VT Invasives provides identification and best management practices here *