What Do Worms Eat

In short, worms live wherever there is food… OK, they need air, warmth and wetness as well but where all these things abound there will be worms naturally. In one acre of ground, one could find more than one million earthworms. In addition, there are almost two million living species identified, and many of these have their own unique wordm infestations.

Earthworms

Earthworms are deposit feeders and detritivores. They are our friends as they oxygenate and fertilize the soil with nitrogen from their slimy secretions and mix top soil with subsoil. These creatures are blind and don’t have any limbs but they burrow beneath the soil fulfilling their essential role in the food cycle. They eat bacteria, organic matter such as decaying grass or other vegetable matter, fruit or whatever else they can find including dead animals in the ground.

Earthworms eat some sand as well

Earthworms add small grains of sand to their digestive system, which assist in the grinding up of the food, which is then digested and secreted as nitrogen-rich slime, thus fertilizing the earth. Compost heaps are always a rich feeding ground for worms and this is very much a chicken and egg situation. The worms thrive because there is decaying vegetable matter and because they are there, they speed the process of decay up by eating the bacteria and algae, which breeds and spreads. It is a beneficial relationship. Therefore, if you ask what earthworms eat, the answer is mostly vegetable matter but their diet may be mixed with any other organic matter that they can find.

The giant gippsland earthworm (Megascolides Australis) and the giant blue earthworm (Terriswalkeris Terraereginae) are both native to Australia and can grow to more than a foot long.

giant gippsland earthworm (Megascolides Australis) and the giant blue earthworm (Terriswalkeris Terraereginae)

Cutworms

Unlike earthworms, which are beneficial cutworms, are our enemies. They eat the roots of live plants cutting them off at ground level and thus killing the plant. In fact, the cutworm is not a worm but a caterpillar.

Intestinal Worms

Many creatures, including as many as a quarter of the world’s humans, suffer from intestinal worms and other parasites. These are not beneficial as they eat the food being digested and sap the nutrition. Thus, the sufferer becomes listless. This is a huge problem and can be combated by medication and prevented by a healthy diet and clean water.

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