Earthworm Reproduction Process: Everything You Need To Know | Kidadl


Earthworm Reproduction Process: Everything You Need To Know

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There are several species of worms, such as anecic species, epigeic species, and red wigglers.

Other species include earthworm, waxworm, and more. But earthworms are a certain species amongst the most species of worms that we are going to talk about.

Earthworms are not just fish bait, but they improve the soil in multiple ways. They nourish the plants and help humans.

The earthworms’ burrowing helps the air penetrate through the soil, and the nutrients and water can run into the soil. Though plants cannot use the materials directly, they are utilized in a different form, but other bacteria help it out. Castings are the organic matter that is released from the earthworm. They are waste products; however, they contain nutrients. These can be used as garden fertilizers. Did you know that earthworms have both male and female reproductive organs?

Fertilization in earthworms, external fertilization is modified in earthworms. Earthworm species construct a cocoon outside of their clitellum after copulating, during which each hermaphroditic earthworm trades sperm with another. During cocoon development, eggs from their own ovaries and sperm from their mate are put into the cocoon.

Earthworm life cycle, earthworms’ fertilized eggs are kept in a protective cocoon after the male and female reproduce(two worms mate). Hatchling worms emerge(to the soil surface) from the ground and burrow into the soils, where they evolve into juvenile and mature worms.

Earthworm reproduction rate, from two worms mating to laying eggs, the breeding cycle takes about 27 days. Every 60 days, the earthworm populations of worms might double as they reproduce.

After reading about the earthworm reproduction process, also check out the earthworm lifespan and goat hair.

How do earthworms reproduce?

Earthworms are known for their parthenogenetic ability. This ability allows the formation of embryos without the process of fertilization in earthworm bodies. Parthenogenesis in Aporrectodea trapezoids has been taking place for about 1.1 million years now.

This process takes place between the sexual partners. Some of them are known to be pseudonymous parthenogenesis; in this process, mating is essential to initiate the process of reproduction. However, no male genetic material passes to the female to cause fertilization.

When earthworms mate, they come to the soil’s surface, and this process only happens during the nights. Earthworms are known for being hermaphrodites; therefore, they have both male and female reproductive organs. From segments 9-15, the sexual organs are located. Earthworms have one or two pairs of testes. These testes are contained in sacs. The sperms are products and stored in the seminal vesicles, which are in two to four pairs. The sperms are later released through the male pore.

Ovaries and oviducts of the earthworms are found in segment 13. Segment 14 has the female pore, which releases the eggs. The worm’s sperm can be found expelled at the 15th segment. In the ninth and 10th segments, one or more pairs of spermatheca are present with internal sacs. They collect and store the worm’s sperm that are received that the other worm produces during copulation. The sex pheromones in the earthworms were found to be attractive and tempting. They were present in all the tissues in the transcriptome DNA libraries of the worms.

In earthworms, copulation takes place separately, and reproduction is a separate process altogether. The front ends are overlapped ventrally while mating occurs (the worms line), and they exchange sperm. After copulation, a region called clitellum in the worm, which lies behind the spermatheca, secretes a material. This material forms a ring around the worm. The worm then gets out of that ring and injects its own eggs and the mate’s sperm into it.

So one worm can be the genetic mother to some worms while it is the genetic father to others. After the worm slips out, the ring seals itself to form a cocoon. This forms an onion-like shape. Fertilization is an external process in earthworms. After three weeks, the cocoon that is deposited in the soil hatches about 20 young ones. They develop without larvae.

Group of earthworms in the soil.

Can a single earthworm reproduce?

A single earthworm can undergo the process of asexual reproduction. This process is called parthenogenesis, as mentioned earlier.

During this process, the earthworm produces unfertilized eggs, and the young ones are formed. One single earthworm cannot multiply separately, and they need a pair to reproduce successfully though they are hermaphrodites. The sacs that the clitellum forms look like a lemon. Only a few species are capable of fertilizing their own eggs; otherwise, mating is required. Post mating, the fertilization of the sperm and eggs takes place externally. Earthworms can reproduce in a month. However, their growing time takes up to six months to reach full size. The species of earthworms that reproduce asexually uses unfertilized eggs.

Sometimes this process of the earthworms is mistaken for the process in which a worm can regenerate new cells when cut in half. But that is not so; earthworms cannot regenerate new cells like that.

What type of asexual reproduction occurs in earthworms?

Parthenogenesis is defined as procreation without the male’s influence. This concept can also be grouped with methods such as fission and budding. Later, in 1950, Suolmalainen defined this process as the development of the egg cell without fertilization.

Scientists have studied the copulatory mechanism and the mate assessment for a long time, and it has not disappointed the researchers.

Do worms lay eggs or give birth?

There are various types of earthworms. Two major varieties of earthworms are Anecic worms which make deep vertical burrows in the soil. They also feed on the leaves of the soil. They are dark in color as well.

Epigeic earthworms are worms that live on the soil. They are not used to making burrows. They feed on leaf litter as well. They have a reddish-brown color, and they do not have a stripy appearance. Worms don’t lay eggs. They have cocoons that look like miniature lemons. These cocoons hatch, and the worms are born.

Red wigglers produce a maximum of 20 baby worms. Under favorable conditions, a duration of two to six weeks is taken for these worms to give birth. Worms require a moderate temperature, moist soil, and the soil’s acidity also plays a role in how the cocoons hatch. In case of a poor environment, the cocoons can stay dormant for many years as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for earthworm reproduction, then why not take a look at earthworm anatomy or earthworm facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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