The earthworm (Phylum Annelida, class Underachiever) has spent millions of years evolving in the dirt and detritus, yet peculiarly enough didn’t put in the little extra effort required to become a snake. It already has well-developed organ, circulatory and nervous systems neatly packed into a successful tubular body plan. Relatively speaking, how much more DNA mutation is involved to whip up a simple venom gland and a fang or two? This lack of follow-through is perplexing and disappointing, to say the least.

‘Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Stay in school and become a snake.’

Following this colossal evolving blunder, the earthworm got itself involved in some pretty hokey stuff. Not to judge or anything, but have you heard that the earthworm is a hermaphrodite? That’s right. Earthworms wield male and female reproductive organs, meaning that any given earthworm can, and, unfortunately will, mate with another. This whole unseemly process is well described and probably more off-putting than you might think. It involves the formation of cocoons and the mutual exchange of…you know what…let’s not do this. Let’s leave it at Ick.

The second tragedy in the earthworm story is that when it failed to actualize its full biological potential (opting instead to pursue a sad ecological niche eating rotten organic matter, aerating/enriching soil, and having relations with anything that moves) there was another, smarter, biding organism by the name of Homo sapiens waiting in the shadows for a chance to profit from the earthworm’s poor self esteem and enticing body parts. Mankind is like a manager at a strip club.

Soft, fleshy, cheap, fairly complex, abundant – and most important, harmless creatures with low estimations of themselves – make excellent candidates for dissection. Thus the earthworm followed the frog into the biology labs of high schools and colleges throughout the country. It’s worth pointing out to the earthworm that snakes don’t generally have this problem because they have fangs. If you want something to dissect, it’s much easier to wait until it rains and scoop slow, toothless specimens off your driveway then it is to go following the sounds of cautionary hissing coming from under rocks. In short, half of life is simply showing up at the midterm.

‘Okay. Now pin my ventral nerve and make a two-inch incision along my subpharyngeal ganglion until you bisect my… whoa, whoa! I said my subpharyngeal ganglion, you freshman. Have you even looked at Chapter 12? Oh man, I should’ve been a snake.’

So basically, that’s why earthworms can always be found beneath a scalpel – and why they are so often bitter about it. Dissection, more than anything else in the earthworm’s life, is a potent aide-mémoire for bad choices made.

‘Now THAT is my subpharyngeal ganglion. You getting all this, freshman?’

Lastly, we’d be negligent if we didn’t mention that earthworms have five hearts and the ability to regenerate lost segments of their segmented bodies. These are impressive features, to be sure, but, again, they go to waste wriggling around in the muck and the mire.

Were Animal Review to offer one piece of advice to earthworms, it would be to pick themselves up, dust off, evolve something long and pointed in their mouth, and go bite something.


9 responses to “Earthworm

  1. I believe the earthworm should receive at least a B-. You fail to mention that despite failing to develop fangs, certain varieties of earthworms have received the nickname “nightcrawlers”. Which you have to admit is a cool nickname for not having fangs.

  2. I bet they didn’t evolve into snakes because they didn’t want to drop the whole hermaphrodite thing. That’s what happens when you have single-issue voters (assuming their evolution was put up to referendum (incidentally, if ours is, I am voting to get rid of the appendix and replace it with advertising)).

  3. They are bait! C- is an appropriate grade.

  4. If you’re bait, that means someone wants you. Being bait, they’ve also spawned the huge artificial bait/fishing tackle industry.
    Plus, who didn’t like that old Playstation game Earthworm Jim.
    I rescind my request for a B-, and now stand behind a B+.

  5. I know this site is ALLL about actual facts and stuff. I mean, this is where i get all my animal info oDDviously, but snakes have venom…not poison. 2 different things.

    However, I do agree with the Grade of C-. Worms should really pick it up.

  6. Cold Worm Kids.

  7. What about the role the non-native earthworm played in altering the soil biology of North America when it crossed the Atlantic? Not sure if contributing to the demise of Native American dominance in the new world gains you any points around here but if it does…

  8. I dont believe in Evolution,but that GOD created everything as we see it.There are reasons for every living creature that inhabits this world.Man thinks he is so smart that this theory of evolution is just the way things became.GOD SAYS in His word that the knowledge of man will become as foolishness.Guess another prophesy is being fullfilled.

  9. worms save lives:
    ‘In the first two studies, earthworms are shown superior to Ranitidine as an anti-ulcer, gastroprotective agent. ‘

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