Discover the world of earthworms with our free printable worksheets, designed to engage and educate young learners about the earthworm life cycle and anatomy.
The humble earthworm, often unseen and underappreciated, is a powerhouse of the ecosystem. They contribute significantly to soil health, plant growth, and overall environmental sustainability.
Earthworms are referred to as “soil engineers,” as they play a pivotal role in modifying the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties. Their consumption of organic matter and movement through the soil create warmer, drier, and less acidic conditions, improving soil fertility and promoting plant growth.
Therefore, it’s important to teach your kids the importance of earthworms in the ecosystem, the life cycle of an earthworm, and how we can sustain their populations.
Amazing Facts about Earthworms
Before we dive into the life cycle of an earthworm, here are some fascinating facts that will blow your mind!
How many hearts does an Earthworm have?
Earthworms can have 0, 5, or 10 hearts. It depends on what you count as hearts. They have 5 pairs of aortic arches that run along their body, or 10 single ones if you count each pair as 2 separate parts. The human heart has many chambers but the aortic arches only have one chamber. So if you think a heart needs to have many chambers, then earthworms will not have any hearts.
How long do Earthworms live?
The lifespan of an earthworm differs depending on where they are. Country earthworms can live up to 8 years, but city garden worms usually only last 1-2 years. Earthworms can also die from problems in the soil, such as if it dries out or floods. They can also get sick or be eaten by predators like birds, snakes, small animals, and big bugs.
Do earthworms have brains?
How do earthworms reproduce?
During mating, two worms align their bodies in opposite directions, with their heads at the other’s tail end. Sperm is exchanged and stored in sacs within each worm.
After mating, as the worm moves forward, a thick band called the clitellum secretes a mucous ring around the worm. This ring picks up the eggs from the female pore and the stored sperm from the male pore.
The worm then wriggles out of the ring, and as it passes over the head, the ends of the cocoon close up. Inside this cocoon, fertilization takes place.
Earthworm Life Cycle
The cocoons are initially a light golden color and lemon-shaped, turning a deep amber as they mature. Each cocoon contains 1-20 baby worms.
The cocoons are deposited in the soil, and after about 30 days, when conditions are right (temperatures between 65℉ to 85℉), the baby worms, or hatchlings, emerge.
When they first emerge from the cocoon, hatchlings are barely visible, appearing as tiny, transparent threads. Despite their small size, they are able to consume organic matter to fuel their growth.
Over the course of about 60 to 90 days, these young earthworms grow and develop, gradually darkening in color and developing clear segments.
Juvenile earthworms resemble adult earthworms, but they are not fully mature yet. They lack a key feature – the saddle or clitellum, which is a thickened glandular section of the body that produces a cacoon for storing eggs.
It takes between 10 and 55 weeks for the juvenile earthworms to mature to their full adult size.
Once earthworms have reached adulthood, they develop the clitellum, marking their capability to reproduce and begin the life cycle anew.
Life Cycle of an Earthworm Worksheets
As you can see, earthworms are fascinating creatures that play a critical role in our ecosystem. Their life cycle is a captivating journey from egg to adult, and understanding it can provide valuable insights into the world of biology.
For parents and educators seeking to introduce this subject in an engaging way, I have free printable earthworm life cycle worksheets that you can download for your classroom or home!
These worksheets offer a fun and interactive approach to learning about earthworms. The pdf file includes:
- Life cycle of an earthworm diagram
- Life cycle of an earthworm cut and paste activity
- Earthworm anatomy diagram
- Earthworm anatomy cut and paste worksheet
- Earthworm maze
- Worm observation recording sheet
- Gummy worm vs. earthworm activity sheet
- Earthworms word search
To get your free download of the earthworm life cycle worksheets, simply click on the image below!
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