Earthworms belong to Annelida. They do not belong to the insect family because their origin and evolution is completely different from that of insects. They have hemoglobin as the respiratory pigment unlike insects that have hemocyanin. Insects also have external limbs used for locomotion. Earthworms are devoid of any such protrusions.
Earthworms are indispensible to mankind. They act like natural fertilizers and are responsible for contributing tremendously to the earth’s nutrient resources. They are a framer’s best friend. They till the soil by burying themselves beneath the top soil layers. This way, they help in mixing of top layers with the bottom ones, a technique essential for maintaining and enriching the soil’s fertility.
They eat parasites and other small microorganisms. By doing so, they keep harmful microorganisms at bay and therefore prevent any type of crop damage. Their excretory products are extremely rich in numerous minerals and nutrients. These acts like natural fertilizers and help crops to grow and flourish.
Apart from providing nutrients, these worms also aid in decomposition of dead leaves, crops, insects, etc. They feed on dead matter and excrete out organic matter that is priceless for soil’s fertility. They are man’s natural recycle bins and help in prompt removal of unwanted organic matter from the soil.
When these worms drill holes to enter deeper layers of the soil, they make the soil porous allowing water and air along with other nutrients to enter the soil’s surface. They make the soil loose and airy. This is vital for the crops’ growth.
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