Worms have straight and long bodies. While it may be an obvious thing to have with how they live, it can drive out the curiosity of many people like us. With such kinds of bodies, how would they interact with other worms? More particularly, how would they procreate? Thus, it begs the question:
How do worms reproduce? In general, worms reproduce by rubbing up against another worm to exchange sperm. Such an exchange allows them to produce cocoons. The cocoons may contain as many as 3-4 worms and hatch within 3 to 6 weeks. The duration of hatching would depend on certain conditions.
While worms may not be one of the cute animals, they never run out of ways to fascinate curious minds. If you’re also looking for more information on how worms reproduce, then read on.
In this article, we’ll tackle every relevant question about worms and how they reproduce.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Do worms lay eggs or give birth?
Worms lay eggs instead of giving birth. The reproduction process takes place when two worms start mating. It’s important to note that a worm has both male and female organs. However, they need a partner to reproduce.
Instead of giving birth, worms reproduce by laying eggs. Once a worm finds a partner, they would rub their bodies against each other and produce cocoons.
The cocoons would usually take within 3-6 weeks before it hatches and turns into baby worms. Moreover, a single cocoon typically has about 3-4 worms in it.
Can a single worm reproduce?
All kinds of worms are hermaphrodites. If you don’t know what the term is, it merely means male and female reproductive organs.
Now, while they have both organs, it doesn’t mean they can reproduce independently. They still need to pair with another worm to produce successfully.
Once they find a partner, they would rub their bodies against each other. This process would allow them to transfer sperm to each other to produce a cocoon.
Thus, in general, a single worm may have both male and female organs. However, it won’t reproduce unless it mates with another worm.
How are baby worms born?
Baby worms are born through a cocoon. As soon as two worms mate successfully, each worm forms a tiny, lemon-shaped cocoon. It comes out of a liquid secreted from the clitellum. The clitellum pertains to the familiar-looking bulge seen near the first third of a worm’s body.
When worms mate, they deposit egg and sperm cells inside the cocoon, and then they bury it. The cocoon would usually take 3 to 6 weeks before they hatch and release baby worms. Cocoons typically have 3-4 worms inside them.
How often do worms reproduce?
In general, worms reproduce more often than other animals. They can double their population every 60 days or two months.
The breeding cycle of worms takes about 27 days. Those days already include the whole process, from mating to laying eggs. It would take 3-6 weeks before the eggs or cocoons start hatching. It can be longer or shorter depending on certain conditions.
What do baby earthworms look like?
You can quickly determine baby earthworms apart from their adult counterparts. A typical earthworm has an earth-like color, more like a camouflage of the ground.
On the other hand, a baby earthworm would standout with a luminescent white color. They usually are the size of rice grain with the said color.
As they mature, they darken. Eventually, the colors would turn from white to yellow to brown. Once they obtain a reddish color, it would mean they are ready to hatch.
You can take a look at this photo for reference:
What does a pregnant worm look like?
A pregnant worm is also easy to determine amidst a swarm. A pregnant worm usually comes with a white bump in its body. Such a part is what we call clitellum, and that is where worms carry the cocoon until they release it for hatching.
You can take a look at this picture for further reference:
Do earthworms fertilize their own eggs?
Just like other kinds of worms, earthworms are also hermaphrodites. It means they have both male and female reproductive organs in them.
Still, while they have both organs, they can’t fertilize their eggs and reproduce independently. They still need to exchange sperm from other worms.
Thus, to reproduce, they need to mate with another worm by rubbing their bodies with each other to exchange sperm.
What do earthworm eggs look like?
Earthworm eggs are quite challenging to see at a single and quick glance. When earthworms lay eggs, they usually do it beneath the surface of the ground.
Further, if you ever have a chance to see such eggs, you may need to take a closer look to see them correctly. Such eggs have a tiny size that makes it difficult to notice with just a glance.
The eggs or cocoon have a yellowish-brown color. Moreover, it has an oval shape to a small point at each end, kind of like a lemon.
Lastly, the eggs come in tiny sizes. Thus, you may need to take a closer look to see one. You can take a look at this photo for further reference:
Worms are fascinating animals. While they are not cute and attractive, they never run out of things that would drive our curiosity. One of these is their way of reproduction.
With the bodies they have, many of us wonder how they reproduce. In general, the answer is merely mating by rubbing their bodies with a partner. Once worms do, they would exchange sperm and form a cocoon where the baby worms would remain until the hatching period.
Moreover, worms have both male and female organs. However, they still need a partner to reproduce and make baby worms. Thus, they can’t produce on their own.
You can also tell the difference between a pregnant worm and a baby worm from the rest of their group.
Image credits – Canva, snappygoat.com and Wikimedia.org