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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How Do WORMS have SEX?

Have you ever wondered how do worms have sex? Most people hated worms and do real bad things to them. Oftentimes worms get squashed, cut into pieces, hit by a rock, even burned! Yes, people do that, including me when I was a kid. :) Poor slimy little creatures. I did horrible things to lots of worms everytime I saw them doing belly dancing on the ground, without even wondering how do worms have sex.

Actually, worms have sex or reproduce in many different ways. But the ones we always see, the earthworms, are hermaphroditic - meaning they are both male and female at the same time, and each produce both sperm cells and egg cells. When a worm is mature and ready to do the sex thing, it then finds a partner worm.

For the most interesting part, the making love part. First, they line up head to head attaching themselves together at the clitella (the thick light colored band around each mature worm). Then a slimy substance called mucous is then secreted on both heads (Does this mean that worms have sex using their heads?) Yes, it sounds more like it. So, having a french kiss with your bf/gf is having a good sex for worms. Second, the sperm cells are exchanged by the worms through this mucous. After the worms separate, the clitellum on each worm secretes albumin (similar to egg-whites) which hardens to form a cocoon. Third, the worm backs out of the cocoon-sort of like pulling a shirt off over your head. As the cocoon slides over the worm’s head, sperm and eggs that have been stored in that area of the worm’s body are squeezed out from small pores in the worm’s body into the cocoon. And the last part, the cocoon detaches from the worm. The ends close up sealing the eggs and sperm into the cocoon. Fertilization takes place in the cocoon and usually 2-4 baby worms develop in each cocoon. The cocoon may hatch in a month if conditions are good. If it is too dry, or cold, or hot, or whatever, the cocoon will become dormant like a seed and will not hatch until conditions are better.

So that's how it works if you are a worm. Having sex is not that enjoyable and pleasurable experience. So the next time you see a worm, don't kill them, because they don't have that much of happy moments on their entire lifespan.