A few months ago I knew next to nothing about earthworms - not a great situation to be in considering part of my job is to help groups do the OPAL Soil and Earthworm survey!
So I decided I'd better swat up. Lucy, who works for OPAL at the NHM , kindly pointed me in the direction of UCLAN Earthworm Research Group - this website has some great photographs of earthworms and some fascinating wormy facts.
The UCLAN website whet my appetite for earthworms (not literally, I hasten to add), so I got a couple of books out of the library on worms, and learnt a bit more about these amazing creatures. Did you know that they have 5 hearts? I guess this is because they are very long in relation to their thickness, and it must be hard work pumping blood all the way to their back end.
Another interesting fact is that earthworms can live for 4-6 years! Sadly the common belief that an earthworm cut in half makes two earthworms isn't actually true, and unfortunately we've chopped quite a few in half whilst doing the OPAL survey! Sometimes the head end of the worm will survive, if it hasn't been too badly damaged, and they can actually regrow some of their segments, which I think is pretty impressive!
As the ground warms up, worms become more active, so if you've not already done your OPAL survey, now is the time to get out and discover these amazing creatures!