Are Worms Insects? What You Need to Know About This Classification | Kidadl
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Are Worms Insects? What You Need to Know About This Classification

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If you are not a person of science, then being confused about worms being insects or animals is not surprising.

Organisms broadly fall into two categories: vertebrates and invertebrates. As worms do not have any bones in their bodies, they are called invertebrates like slugs, centipedes, spiders, and several other similar animals.

There are several species of worms in the world such as the earthworm, the flatworm, and several others. One is differentiated from another by a minute or large difference in appearance. The most common confusion about worms in most laypeople is exactly what kind of creatures are worms. Our scientific community is able to help with this confusion. The life of worms on Earth dates back thousands of years. They have survived here through extreme environments and undergone numerous adaptations.

Now after thorough research on origins and ancestry of worms, the scientific community has told the world what type of creatures worms are: insects or animals. Read on to unveil the truth. Also, after reading about why these creatures are called worms, do read about what worms eat and what are mango worms.

Are worms insects or animals?

How would you address a worm, as an insect or an animal? It is a common thing to be confused about whether worms are insects or animals. They seem to be related to both due to a number of characteristics.

But that is not the case. Worms are utterly and completely animals. They have distinct characteristics that rule out the idea of them being insects. Their structures and functions diverge a lot from that of insects such as the absence of legs and eyes.

Worms are not insects; they are animals. The fact that both insects and worms come under the Animalia kingdom does not mean worms are insects.

Worms are invertebrates that lack a backbone. Insects, on the other hand, have an exoskeleton. This skeleton supports the entire body of the insect. This is the most significant factor that tells us worms are not insects. Exoskeletons have a possibility of molting after a certain stage in life. But lack of an exoskeleton in worms makes them resistant to molting.

Worms breathe through pores in their skin but insects have trachea for breathing. These differences clearly lead us to say worms are animals. There are three main types of worms: flatworms, roundworms, and segmented worms. All worms are animals and invertebrates.

Earthworms have no eyes and no legs but can sense light.

What are invertebrates?

We have been saying that worms are invertebrates. The exact meaning of the term invertebrate is 'animals having no backbones'.

An exoskeleton is a bony structure that supports and forms the entire structure of the body, and only some invertebrates have one. Invertebrates range from microscopic to several meters in size. Invertebrates are known to be one of the largest groups in the kingdom Animalia. Approximately 97% of all animals belonging to the kingdom Animalia are known to be invertebrates.

Worms are invertebrates. They have most of the characteristics that an invertebrate should possess. Invertebrates are further classified into subtypes based on their lifecycle, evolution, and body structure. Major groups that are classified under invertebrates are insects, centipedes, worms, slaters, spiders, millipedes, velvet worms, land hoppers, and more. Worms are one such important subtype.

Invertebrates are very adaptable. They are known to survive in extreme environmental conditions. They can survive practically anywhere on Earth. Worms, a type of invertebrate, are found in depths of oceans, on heights of mountains, and in deserts, rainforests, lava-laden volcanoes, and glacier-filled waters. They completely match the survival quality of invertebrates. Worms have soft bodies devoid of a skeletal structure and are invertebrates.

The Different Subspecies Of Worms

Many species of worms roam around the Earth. Some common types of worms are discussed here to make you acquainted with them.

Each species has its own special characteristics. The three major phyla of worms are the phylum Annelida, the phylum Nematoda and rhe phylum Platyhelminthes. Each of these phyla has various subspecies of worms under them. There are also certain parasitic worms that use humans or other animals as hosts.

Worms belonging to the phylum Annelida are commonly called annelids. Earthworms and bristle worms are common annelids. Annelids typically have segmented bodies. Worms of phylum Nematoda are usually cylindrical in shape. Examples of nematodes are threadworms, roundworms, and hookworms. The phylum Platyhelminthes has flukes, flatworms, and tapeworms which have ribbon-like bodies.

Worms are also classified as marine and freshwater worms. Marine worms are found in salty water bodies such as seas. Many marine worms are parasitic in nature. They cause skin infections in humans. Parasites such as tapeworms, threadworms, bookworms, flukes, and other marine worms are a huge nuisance. Science has helped scientists discover cures for most worm infestations. A person can be as good as completely healthy after just a few days of treatment. Animals such as dogs, cats, and cattle are more prone to such worm infestations than humans.

What is the difference between an insect and a bug?

People usually call any type of insects bugs. They don't go on to search whether it is really a bug or an insect. If they search, they shall find there is a distinct difference between bugs and insects.

Bugs are a subtype of insects. It is safe to say that all bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs. Both bugs and insects belong to the class Insecta.

Bugs belong to the order Hemiptera. Bodies of bugs are differently shaped than bodies of other insects. They have a stylet, a straw-shaped mouth they use to drink nectar and ingest food. The stylet is not present in all insects. Most bugs have long antennae which are segmented. They are thick at the base and become thinner at the top. Forewings of members of the classification of bugs are shaped in such a way that they have quite the strength. They are darker at the site of attachment to the body and are translucent above that. Their wings support their full body during flight and stop them from falling.

Are worms arthropods?

In biology, arthropods and annelids are two different groups of animals. Each group has subtypes of its own.

Arthropods contain shrimp, lobster, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, and insects such as cockroaches and beetles. Annelids include worms and leeches. There are several different characteristics that are taken into consideration while distributing animals in all these categories. Does this classification mean worms are not arthropods? Let’s find out.

Some important characteristics which are the basis for the classification of animals are body structure, reproductive methods, and circulatory systems, among others. Worms typically belong to the phylum Annelida which is distinct from the phylum Arthropoda. All arthropods have an exoskeleton. We have established earlier that worms do not have an exoskeleton or legs. So, one can say the body structure of arthropods is different from that of worms. Annelids have a closed circulatory system whereas arthropods have an open circulatory system. Even circulatory systems are distinct in arthropods and worms.

All facts clearly point to the conclusion that worms are not arthropods.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are worms insects then take a look at how to find worms or green spoon worm facts.

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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