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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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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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