EarthwormsSaturday, November 25, 2006
Earthworms belong to a large phylum, the Annelida, or segmented worms. They belong to the Class Oligochaeta. This name means 'few bristles' and refers to the few bristles, or setae, on each body segment compared with the many setae of marine annelids in the Class Polychaeta ('many bristles'). There are four pairs of setae on each segment. These can be detected as a roughness if the animal is stroked from tail to head.
Earthworms are diverse enough to be broken into four major families, with approximately 3,000 known species.
Earthworms range in size from several millimetres to two or three metres in length.
I took these pictures around 26 years ago and I don't think Martin's store is around anymore. I remember the store was near Kootenay Street in East Vancouver, and that's all. I wouldn't be caught dead holding more than one earthworm in my hand at a time. Being an Argentine by birth I really don't like to eat fish. I get easily seasick, so fishing is something I have avoided all my life, be it manly or not.
But Rebecca Stewart, my 9-year-old granddaughter, begs to differ. Whenever she spends any time in our garden she overturns all my stones to look for insects, worms and other bugs. These she picks up and brings them into the house for me to scan. When she was 5 and we went to Washington DC, she had a fantastic time holding 5-inch long cockroaches, lizards, snakes and whatever creepy crawly thing she could get her hands on at the Museum of Natural History. Her mother Hilary has nixed Rebecca's wish to become a member of the Vancouver Reptile Society and has said that a snake in the house is out of the question.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 71