Earthworm Parts & Functions


Earthworms contribute to soil health by eating decaying organic matter. As they tunnel through the soil, they create passageways through which water and air can circulate. Although about 2,700 types of earthworms exist in the world, most have the same basic anatomy.

Digestive System

  • An earthworm's digestive system has many body parts, including the pharynx, crop, esophagus, gizzard and intestine. The digestive system processes food and absorbs the nutrients. The crop stores food.

Circulatory System

  • Earthworms have closed circulatory systems, which means they circulate blood exclusively through blood vessels to supply organs with blood. The main vessels are the dorsal blood vessels, the ventral blood vessels and the aortic arches.

Respiratory System

  • Earthworms breathe air through their skin. The earthworm's skin must stay moist for carbon dioxide and oxygen to pass through.

Reproductive System

  • Earthworms are hermaphroditic creatures, which means they contain both female and male sex organs. Despite this, most earthworms must have a mate to reproduce.

Segmented Body

  • Earthworm bodies are segmented into 100 to 150 joined rings. Their segmented bodies make earthworms flexible, strong and mobile.

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