Do you know what worms are? Worms have cylindrical bodies, no limbs and make us squeamish; this is what most of us know about worms. But are worms insects or animals? What are worms classified as?
Contrary to what most people believe, rather than insects, worms, in fact, belong to the classification phyla in the animal kingdom. Approximately one-third of the 30 phyla in the animal kingdom is generally referred to as worms, and if you include the lesser-known or exotic phyla that are often described as ‘worm-like,' then the number goes beyond 50 percent.
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If you think some are simple or primitive as compared to other members of the animal kingdom, then think again. The hydrothermal vent worm, Riftia pachyptila, discovered at the Galapagos Rift back in 1977 feed entirely on symbiotic bacteria that thrive on sulfur compounds present in the hydrothermal vents. The beard worms or Pogonophora are related to the segmented worms like earthworms.
Though the two belong to the same classification, you would be surprised to see the dramatic difference in the physiologies, anatomies and feeding strategies of vent worms and earthworms. Also, riftia, which also belongs to the Pogonophora group, are drastically different from earthworms that hail from the same group. While the former lack a gut, mouth and have acquired traits that allow them to survive in hostile environments, the latter have mouthparts, digestive tract and made colonies on land.
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You may also consider worms as successful living beings as they have learned to survive in almost all kinds of the environment on earth. From tropical regions and rainforests to oceans in the polar region, at least one species of these can be found in every ecosystem. They have also evolved with different feeding strategies. For instance, while some may be parasites, others may be classified as predators. Furthermore, worms can also be detritivores, grazers, and filter-feeders based on the environment that they live in.
You can also distinguish species of worms based on their other physical characteristics like the hue of their flesh. Many kinds of worms, such as Greeffiella roundworm are almost transparent and have no skin pigment, whereas there are many species like the marine polychaete that are bioluminescent in nature.
You may also be surprised to learn that while worms, in the scientific world, are not insects, there are actually some insects that have earned worm-related common names like glowworms, cotton-bollworms, silkworms and tequila worms.
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We really hope that we have been able to clear all your doubts and provide you with some intriguing information through this post. Share your views with us through the comment box below. Also, do not forget to vote in the poll that we have for you.
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