August 7, 2012

Why do worms breathe thru their skin?

It is quite obvious that the most amazing facts, interesting and odd ones originates and come from a simple, common, minute and tiny aspect.  Human nature, animals, creatures, things….anything and just about anything.  Even ideas that are products of the mind are not excused from this line of thought that we are trying to establish.  I myself could hardly imagine and think of anything grand or big, or something that it is as it is without thinking or having a thought of the smallest or tiniest part or fraction of it.  It is obviously agreeable that everything comes down to the idea of a single, small or minute in considering the whole or the entirety of it.  It is like narrowing down of certain things or aspects in order to admire the entirety of it as a whole.  It is in this notion that I would like to focus on worms.  Yes, you’re reading it my words with pure clarity, worms.  Is there anything factual or noteworthy on these creatures?  An interesting fact that can be derived from worms is that they breathe through their skin.  And it is also in this line of thought that we would try to explore the answer to this interesting fact about worms.  In this case, let us all try to pretend to be inside a science laboratory and these worms are our subjects under study.

Aside from that interesting fact about worms, what are the things that make them so unique?  Postings of questions like the former would further give way to our quest of knowing initially what a worm is and other information relating to it.

Relatively, a worm in the easier terminology and understanding would be a long, thin and small animal/creature that lives under or on the soil.  Its physical characteristic can be likened to a snake which possesses a long rounded body with no arms and legs.  The more complicated and academic description of what a worm is that small creature or animal that usually can be found in soils.  Worms eat small plants and animals.  These creatures also feed on decaying matters and are often regarded as one of the components that make a soil rich.  These worms and some of its species also happen to be considered as parasites as they inhabit plants and other animals and further cause diseases among them.  There are also types of worms that enter and lives inside our bodies by passing through our feet or hands.

Some of the interesting facts about worms are it do not possess any teeth but their mouths are usually functioned in eating decomposing plants and animals.  Aside from its mouth, the worms also do not posses noses or lungs, but like any other animal, the worm also needs to breathe in order to live.  They too enjoy the freedom of taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.  The question how is quite an intriguing but an interesting fact about the worm.

Without the presence of lungs, noses and other breathing apparatuses, the worm actually breathes through its skin.  Figuratively, it is like having your nose or having hundreds of noses all over your body.  Now, let’s try dissecting a worm, an earthworm in particular.  Inside its body about a small length from its head is the worm’s organ called the clitellum.  Our science books and teachers would often tell us that this organ of the worm is responsible for the animal’s “slimy” characteristic.  This organ of the worm provides the needed moisture in the worm’s body in order for it to breathe.  Some experts say that this particular slime that the clitellum produces contains nitrogen which is very vital as growing nutrient of plants.  It is more important on a more practical sense that worms be moist enough in order to breathe.  That is also the main reason why vermicomposting (process of composting using worms) consist a method wherein the worms are being treated to some amount of water to absorb by using wet sponges.  In this manner, the worms that produces more slime or moist are the one’s who breathe more freely and their chances of survival is likewise high aside from the food that they consume.  Additionally, this slime enables the worm not just to breathe but also helps in its mobility as it keeps the surfaces of their paths wet and slippery.  It likewise prevents the surface to crumble by hardening the same for the worms to easily move into.

More importantly, the moisture around the worm’s body or skin enables oxygen to pass more freely inside it and go inside the worm’s system, specifically through the blood.  Carbon dioxide is then excreted outside the worm’s body by processing the oxygenated blood in its circulatory system which mainly consists of five hearts (yup, you read it right guys, five hearts) all in pumping action.  End result of this amazing fact about worms is Carbon dioxide excreted through its skin.  So obviously, if the worms’ skin dries out and loses moisture, it dies.

With the above explanation, we can derive that these tiny animals do really need a lot of water as to be that moist enough.  This is aside from the other factors in order to survive such as air, food and darkness.  With that provided, worm’s lifespan is made longer.  It is just important that their skins are well moisturized like that of our beauty queens and beauty icons.

With the proper moisture around its skin which makes the worms breathe easily, composting and other active uses of these tiny animals are easily achieved on a much considerable end.  The agriculture and other environmental people should know about this interesting fact about worms and the realities behind these.  This would surely enable them to further their field by understanding such minute but important information.

On a much larger scale, we are now realized the fact that it is through these small things that a great one is realized.  And that even these small things can also spell phenomenon or instigate an idea or a breakthrough.  Often regarded, these things also can be destructible in some sense so it is very important to be wary on everything, even on the tiniest thing.  And as most usually say: size really does matter.

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