The earthworm family includes several different species of invertebrates that live in most parts of the world. These animals can vary significantly in terms of size, with some being as small as half an inch (about a centimeter) and others being over 20-feet-long (about 6 meters). They are generally brownish in color, and they have segmented bodies, which contract and relax to produce simple locomotion. Animals in the earthworm family are known to eat nutrients left over by decomposing plant matter in soil, and most scientists think they are very important to the ecosystem. Earthworms are generally blind and deaf, but their skin is covered in cells that allow them to taste the soil and detect light.
All earthworms generally have reproductive parts from both sexes. This means that they can produce both sperm and eggs, and when they mate, both worms produce separate offspring. The earthworm mating process generally involves the worms tangling up with each other and excreting mucus that allows each worm to absorb the other's sperm. After that, the worms generally use the sperm to fertilize eggs inside their bodies. These eggs are released inside mucus rings that form on the outside of each worm’s body and eventually fall to the ground, where they become protective casings.
Animals in the earthworm family are constantly burrowing in the ground and eating soil as they go. This generally leaves a sponge-like series of tunnels, which can potentially make it easier for water to get down to plant roots. It also keeps the soil mixed up, which can be beneficial to plant life. The feces produced when worms eat is thought to be a good fertilizer, and for this reason, many farmers purposely cultivate a strong earthworm population on their land. There are also people who breed earthworms just for the purpose of gathering their feces and selling it as fertilizer.
All earthworms need to survive is moist soil and warm temperatures. They are coldblooded, so they can’t survive in areas where the temperatures are too severe. They also generally need a certain amount of moisture, and if they get too dry, they will die. Animals in the earthworm family also have quite a few natural enemies. For example, some bird species eat earthworms as their main food source, and these birds often have special adoptions in their vision that allow them to detect the movements of earthworms beneath the surface.