Anglers and kids love them; the rest of the world…not so much. Worms may be derided in art, science and religion, but fish can’t resist a red wiggler on a hook. Learn a bit more about worms, and you’ll love them, too.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Worms
Worms in Nature
- Worms are one of the most common creatures on earth, living in both freshwater and saltwater, underground, underwater and even inside other living creatures.
- Worms vary in size from microscopic to a record-holding ribbon worm, measuring a horrifying 180 feet, found in the North Sea. The longest earthworm measured a measly nine feet by comparison.
- Instead of a brain, worms process basic information about their surroundings through nerve ganglia. They lack eyes but some can sense light with photoreceptors.
- Some scientists believe worms can sense the earth’s magnetic field to navigate underground.
- Many worms are hermaphrodites (both male and female). They can mate with another worm or reproduce asexually, growing a new worm from their own cells.
Worms in Culture
- The word “worm” is derived from the Old English world “wurm” or “wyrm,” which referred to mythical serpents and other dragon-like creatures.
- Anglers are credited with coining the phrase to “open a can of worms.” Before worms came in plastic containers, fishermen bough their bait in metal cans with lids that were tough to open, often causing the worms to spill out.
- Bookworms are actually the larvae of the anolium beetle, silverfish or a type of lice. The larvae eat the paste used in book bindings. None of these critters is actually a worm.
- Worm holes are hypothetical passages through space-time, theorized by Einstein, which could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe.
- Earthworms are not only edible to fish but also to people. They’re a good source of protein, and may have medicinal uses for various inflammatory bowel diseases.
Worms may be derided in art, science and religion, but fish can’t resist them. | Feature photo: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn/Pexels