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Earthworms

To most of us, one earthworm resembles another. Although earthworms do have common characteristics, species differ widely in their size, skin colour and in the roles they play in the soil ecosystem.

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New Zealand Research

People Profiles

Investigations in science

Dr Nicole Schon

The role of observation in science

Dr Trish Fraser

AgResearch

Ross Gray

New Zealand Society of Soil Science

Teaching & Learning Approaches

Plant & Food Research

Living or non-living?

Science Ideas & Concepts

Observing earthworms

Characteristics of living things

Ethics of keeping earthworms in the classroom

Niches within earthworms’ habitat

Wormface – social networking for earthworms

Earthworms’ role in the ecosystem

Sci Media Interactive

Looking Closer

Earthworms: inside and out

Earthworm adaptations

Sci Media Videos

Native and introduced earthworms

Not all the same

Octochaetus multiporus

New Zealand native earthworm O. multiporus

Charles Darwin and earthworms

Physical adaptations for life underground

Common New Zealand earthworms

 

Earthworms are found in all but the driest and coldest land areas in the world. There are about 4000 species worldwide. In New Zealand, we have over 200 known species. Most of our earthworms are endemic (found nowhere else on Earth). However, the earthworms we are most likely to encounter on rainy footpaths or in garden or pasture soils are introduced species.

To most of us, one earthworm resembles another. Although earthworms do have common characteristics, species differ widely in their size, skin colour and in the roles they play in the soil ecosystem.

In this science story, we move beyond the tiger worm and composting food scraps to delve more deeply into how scientists conduct investigations regarding earthworms and agriculture. We explore living things, using earthworms as an example, and look at their adaptations for life in the soil. We also learn about one of our unusual native earthworms. Our interactives, videos and teaching activities will give students a new perspective on the ‘lowly’ worm.

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