What do earthworms eat? All about their food

In addition to being an animal that can easily disgust some people, the earthworm has certain positive characteristics that make it a recognized and highly appreciated animal by those who know them a little more in depth.

Amount of food ingested by earthworms

Earthworms ingest a quantity of food equivalent to 90% of their own weight every day and excrete between 50 and 60% of it, transforming it into humus, an excellent biological fertilizer rich in nutrients for the soil and the plants that also contains beneficial fungi and bacteria, improves soil water retention and is PH neutral. For all these reasons, earthworms are generally used as natural “machines” for the production of fertilizers.

Characteristics of earthworms

Earthworms are annelids that live in marshy, moist soils, where the greatest amount of organic matter is found. They have an elongated worm-like shape and a cylindrical body divided into segments called metamers. They are between 5 and 30 cm long, weigh between 1 and 1.5 grams and are pink, brown or reddish-brown in color.

An ally of plants

How do earthworms live in nature? They spend most of the day underground, where they dig galleries in search of organic material to feed on. The galleries they dig are particularly beneficial for plants, as they renew the air in the soil, making it more fertile. Undoubtedly, earthworms are really useful for plant growth.

Their feeding process

To feed, earthworms absorb soil rich in organic matter through their mouths. As they have no teeth, the earth thus ingested passes directly from the pharynx to the esophagus and from there to the stomach, where it is stored.

Then it gradually empties into the thymus where the food is crushed into small particles allowing easier digestion. Undigested food and soil are excreted through the anus: this is what we know as humus and is used by plants or collected by humans.

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Importance of earthworm

The existence of the earthworm (or earthworm) is fundamental, because, by the mere fact of its existence, it allows the existence of agriculture. In fact, thanks to the earthworm, the production of the agricultural area, considered from an ecological and natural point of view, is greatly improved by the preparation of the soil carried out by the earthworms.

The main characteristic of these is that they dig deep into the earth and help prevent it from compacting. The earth itself benefits from the deposits that earthworms leave in their path. Soils filled with earthworms are rich, their land is more aerated, and farmers appreciate this natural help very much.