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A worm is an elongated, soft-bodied, land-dwelling invertebrate. Worm is a common name for various species that belong to different clades of animals--that is they are unrelated to each other. Animals which are commonly called worms include species of annelids, insects (their immature larva stage), and flatworms. Many marine and freshwater species, which are usually seen only by professional biologists, are recognized as "worms". Worms commonly are seen on the sidewalk after a rainstorm, and often die of drying out or being trampled on by humans. Look up worm in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Invertebrate is an English word that describes any animal without a spinal column. ... In science, a common name is any name by which a species or other concept is known that is not the official scientific name. ... A clade is a term belonging to the discipline of cladistics. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Classes and subclasses Class Polychaeta (paraphyletic?) Class Clitellata    Oligochaeta - Earthworms and others    Acanthobdellida    Branchiobdellida    Hirudinea - Leeches Class Myzostomida Class Archiannelida (polyphyletic) Class Echiura *Some authors consider the subclasses under Clitellata to be classes The annelids, collectively called Annelida, are a large phylum of animals, comprising the segmented worms, with about... Orders Subclass Apterygota Symphypleona - globular springtails Subclass Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) Subclass Dicondylia Monura - extinct Thysanura (common bristletails) Subclass Pterygota Diaphanopteroidea - extinct Palaeodictyoptera - extinct Megasecoptera - extinct Archodonata - extinct Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Blattodea (cockroaches) Mantodea (mantids) Isoptera (termites) Zoraptera Grylloblattodea Dermaptera (earwigs) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets... A larval insect A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians). ... Classes Monogenea Trematoda Cestoda Turbellaria The flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Greek platy: flat; helminth: worm) are a phylum of relatively simple soft-bodied invertebrate animals. ...

Contents

Distribution and habitat

American Robin with worms
American Robin with worms

There are at least 1,000,000 species of worms.[citation needed] They are found almost all over the world. Worms are universal in distribution, occurring in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats. Some worms living in the ground help to condition the soil (e.g., annelids, aschelminths). Many thrive as parasites of plants (e.g., aschelminths) and animals, including humans (e.g., platyhelminths, aschelminths). Several other worms may be free-living, or nonparasitic. There are worms that live in freshwater, seawater, and even on the seashore. Ecologically, worms form an important link in the food chains in virtually all the ecosystems of the world. Binomial name Linnaeus, 1766 The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. ... Classes and subclasses Class Polychaeta (paraphyletic?) Class Clitellata    Oligochaeta - Earthworms and others    Acanthobdellida    Branchiobdellida    Hirudinea - Leeches Class Myzostomida Class Archiannelida (polyphyletic) Class Echiura *Some authors consider the subclasses under Clitellata to be classes The annelids, collectively called Annelida, are a large phylum of animals, comprising the segmented worms, with about... The Aschelminthes (also known as Aeschelminthes, Nemathelminthes, or Pseudocoelomata), closely associated with the Platyhelminthes, are an obsolete phylum of pseudocoelomate and other similar animals that are no longer considered closely related and have been promoted to phyla in their own right. ... A parasite is an organism that lives in or on the living tissue of a host organism at the expense of it. ... Classes Monogenea Trematoda Cestoda Turbellaria Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Platyhelminthes Wikispecies has information related to: Platyhelminthes The flatworms (Phylum Platyhelminthes from the Greek platy, meaning flat and helminth, meaning worm) are a phylum of relatively simple soft-bodied invertebrate animals. ... Fresh water redirects here. ... Annual mean sea surface salinity for the World Ocean. ... A coastal image featured on a United States postal stamp. ... Figure 1. ... In ecology, an ecosystem is a community of organisms (plant, animal and other living organisms - also referred as biocenose) together with their environment (or biotope), functioning as a unit. ...


Worms may also be called helminths, particularly in medical terminology when referring to parasitic worms, especially the Nematoda (roundworms) and Cestoda (tapeworms). Hence "helminthology" is the study of parasitic worms. When an animal, such as a dog, is said to "have worms", it means that it is infested with parasitic worms, typically roundworms or tapeworms. Helminthology is the study of parasitic worms and their effect on their hosts. ...


Classification

In everyday language, the term worm is also applied to various other living forms such as larvae, insects, centipedes, shipworms (teredo worms), or even some vertebrates (creatures with a backbone) such as blindworms and caecilians. Worms can be divided into several groups, A larval insect A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians). ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Symphypleona - globular springtails Subclass Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) Subclass Dicondylia Monura - extinct Thysanura (common bristletails) Subclass Pterygota Diaphanopteroidea - extinct Palaeodictyoptera - extinct Megasecoptera - extinct Archodonata - extinct Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Blattodea (cockroaches) Mantodea (mantids) Isoptera (termites) Zoraptera Grylloblattodea Dermaptera (earwigs) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets... For the arcade game called Centipede see Centipede (video game). ... Genera Kuphus Bactronophorus Neoteredo Dicyathifer Teredothyra Teredora Psiloteredo Uperotus Lyrodus Teredo Nototeredo Spathoteredo Nausitoria Bankia … Shipworms are not in fact worms at all, but rather a group of marine mollusc (Eulamellibranchiata) in the family Teredinidae. ... Binomial name Anguis fragilis Linnaeus, 1758 Closeup of the head of a slow-worm Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Anguis fragilis Anguis fragilis (the slow worm, slow-worm, slowworm, blindworm or blind worm) is a limbless reptile native to Eurasia. ... See also: Caecilian, bishop of Carthage, 312 C.E. Families Rhinatrematidae Ichthyophiidae Uraeotyphlidae Scolecomorphidae Caeciliidae The Caecilians are an order (Gymnophiona or Apoda) of amphibians which resemble worms or snakes. ...

  • The first of these includes the flatworms. This phylum is called Platyhelminthes. They have a flat, ribbon- or leaf-shaped body with a pair of eyes at the front. Some are parasites.
  • The second group contains the threadworms, roundworms, and hookworms. This phylum is called Nemotoda. Threadworms may be microscopic, such as the vinegar eelworm, or more than 1 meter (3 feet) long. They are found in damp earth, moss, decaying substances, fresh water, or salt water. Some roundworms are also parasites. The Guinea worm, for example, gets under the skin of the feet and legs of people living in tropical countries.
  • The third group consists of the segmented worms, with bodies divided into segments, or rings. This phylum is called Annelida. Among these are the earthworms and the bristle worms of the sea.

There are hundreds of thousands of species that live in a wide variety of habitats other than soil. Over time this broad definition narrowed to the modern definition, although this still includes several different animal groups. Major phyla that include worms include: Classes Monogenea Trematoda Cestoda Turbellaria The flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Greek platy: flat; helminth: worm) are a phylum of relatively simple soft-bodied invertebrate animals. ... The pinworm(Genus Enterobius) is a parasitic roundworm of the phylum Nematoda. ... Classes Adenophora    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms (Phylum Nematoda) are one of the most common phyla of animals, with over 20,000 different described species. ... The hookworm is a parasite that lives in the small intestine of its host, which may be a mammal such as a dog, cat, or human. ... Dracunculiasis, more commonly known as Guinea Worm Disease (GWD), is a preventable infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. ... The tropics are the geographic region of the Earth centered on the equator and limited in latitude by the two tropics: the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere. ... Earthworm is the common reference for the larger members of the Oligochaeta (which is either a class or subclass depending on the author) in the phylum Annelida. ... Subclasses Palpata Scoleoida The Polychaeta or polychaetes are a class of annelid worms, generally marine. ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... Loess field in Germany Surface-water-gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland For other uses, see Soil (disambiguation). ... Scientific classification or biological classification refers to how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ...

The most common worm is the earthworm, a member of phylum Annelida. Earthworms in general have been around for 120 million years, evolving during the time of the dinosaurs. They enrich and aerate the soil; Charles Darwin found that worms turn over the top six inches (15 cm) of topsoil every 20 years. They lack a brain but have nerve centers (called ganglia); they also lack eyes but can sense light with photoreceptors. Worms are hermaphrodites (both sexes in one animal) but can cross fertilize. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (750x729, 136 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Earthworm Lumbricus terrestris Haplotaxida ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (750x729, 136 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Earthworm Lumbricus terrestris Haplotaxida ... For the LPG album, see The Earthworm (album). ... Classes Archiacanthocephala Palaeacanthocephala Eoacanthocephala The Acanthocephala (gr. ... Ancylostoma is a genus that includes some species of hookworm. ... Classes and subclasses Class Polychaeta (paraphyletic?) Class Clitellata    Oligochaeta - Earthworms and others    Acanthobdellida    Branchiobdellida    Hirudinea - Leeches Class Myzostomida Class Archiannelida (polyphyletic) Class Echiura *Some authors consider the subclasses under Clitellata to be classes The annelids, collectively called Annelida, are a large phylum of animals, comprising the segmented worms, with about... For the musical collaboration named Tapeworm, see Tapeworm (band). ... Classes Archisagittoidea Sagittoidea Chaetognatha is a phylum of predatory marine worms that are a major component of plankton worldwide. ... Classes Phylactolaemata Stenolaemata Gymnolaemata The Ectoprocta are a phylum of lophophorate animals. ... Gnathostomulids, or jaw worms, are a small phylum of microscopic marine animals. ... Classes Enterepneusta Pterobranchia Planctosphaeroidea Hemichordata is a phylum of worm-shaped marine deuterostome animals, generally considered the sister group of our own, the chordates. ... Orders Cyclorhagida Homalorhagida Kinorhyncha (Gr. ... Classes Adenophora    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms (Phylum Nematoda) are one of the most common phyla of animals, with over 20,000 different described species. ... Classes Nectonematoida Gordioidea Nematomorpha (sometimes called Gordiacea, and commonly known as horsehair worms or Gordian worms) are a phylum of parasitic animals which are morphologically and ecologically similar to nematode worms, hence the name. ... Classes Anopla Enopla Synonyms Rhyncocoela [1] Nemertea is a phylum of invertebrate animals also known as ribbon worms or proboscis worms [1]. Most of the 1,400 or so species are marine, with a few living in fresh water and a small number of terrestrial forms; they are found in... Genera Peripatus . ... Genera Phoronis Phoronopsis Phoronids (Phoronida) are a relatively small animal phylum: twelve species are known, in two genera, Phoronis and Phoronopsis. ... Classes Monogenea Trematoda Cestoda Turbellaria The flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Greek platy: flat; helminth: worm) are a phylum of relatively simple soft-bodied invertebrate animals. ... Priapulida (priapulid worms or penis worms, from Gr. ... The Sipuncula, sipunculid worms or peanut worms, are a phylum of marine worms with a tentacle surrounded mouth on a completely invertible head end. ... For the LPG album, see The Earthworm (album). ... Phylum (plural: phyla) is a taxon used in the classification of animals, adopted from the Greek phylai the clan-based voting groups in Greek city-states. ... Classes and subclasses Class Polychaeta (paraphyletic?) Class Clitellata    Oligochaeta - Earthworms and others    Acanthobdellida    Branchiobdellida    Hirudinea - Leeches Class Myzostomida Class Archiannelida (polyphyletic) Class Echiura *Some authors consider the subclasses under Clitellata to be classes The annelids, collectively called Annelida, are a large phylum of animals, comprising the segmented worms, with about... Orders Saurischia    Sauropodomorpha    Theropoda Ornithischia Dinosaurs are giant reptiles that dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for most of their 165-million year existence. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... An ocellus (plural: ocelli) is a type of photoreceptor organ in animals. ... In zoology, a hermaphrodite is a species that contains both male and female sexual organs at some point during their lives. ...


Other invertebrate groups may be called worms, especially colloquially. In particular, many unrelated insect larvae are called "worms", such as the railroad worm, woodworm, glowworm, bloodworm, or silkworm. Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera... A larval insect A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians). ... Species several The railroad worm is a larva or larviform adult of beetles of the genus Phrixothrix in family Phengodidae, characterized by their unique possession of two different colors of bioluminescence. ... A woodworm is not a specific species. ... Photo of a glowworm on a stick. ... Midges on a car Midges are small, two-winged flying insects. ... Binomial name Bombyx mori Linnaeus, 1758 For other senses of this word, see silkworm (disambiguation). ...


Worms may also be called helminths, particularly in medical terminology when referring to parasitic worms, especially the Nematoda (roundworms) and Cestoda (tapeworms). Hence "helminthology" is the study of parasitic worms. When an animal, such as a dog, is said to "have worms", it means that it is infested with parasitic worms, typically roundworms or tapeworms. See drugs, medication, and pharmacology for substances that are used to treat patients. ... See also Parasitic worm (disambiguation) Parasitic worms or helminths are a division of eukaroytic parasites that, unlike external parasites such as lice and fleas, live inside their host. ... Classes Adenophora    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms (Phylum Nematoda) are one of the most common phyla of animals, with over 20,000 different described species. ... For the musical collaboration named Tapeworm, see Tapeworm (band). ... Helminthology is the study of parasitic worms and their effect on their hosts. ... Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ... Classes Adenophorea    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms or nematodes (Phylum Nematoda from Gr. ... Orders Subclass Cestodaria Amphilinidea Gyrocotylidea Subclass Eucestoda Aporidea Caryophyllidea Cyclophyllidea Diphyllidea Lecanicephalidea Litobothridea Nippotaeniidea Proteocephalidea Pseudophyllidea Spathebothriidea Tetraphyllidea Trypanorhyncha In biology, Cestoda is the class of parasitic flatworms, called cestodes or tapeworms, that live in the digestive tract of vertebrates as adults and often in the bodies of various animals...


"Ringworm" is not a worm at all, but a skin fungus. This article is about the fungal infection. ...


Characteristics

Paragordius tricuspidatus (Nematomorpha)
Paragordius tricuspidatus (Nematomorpha)

Worms usually have a cylindrical, flattened, or leaf-like body shape and are often without any true limbs or appendages. Instead, they may have bristles or fins that help them move. Many worms have sense organs that can detect environmental change. A few may even have light-sensing organs. Worms vary in size from less than 1 mm (0.04 inch) in certain aschelminths to more than 30 m (100 feet) in certain ribbon worms. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2484x1698, 423 KB) A horsehair worm (Phylum Nematomorpha), species Paragordius tricuspidatus. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2484x1698, 423 KB) A horsehair worm (Phylum Nematomorpha), species Paragordius tricuspidatus. ... Classes Nectonematoida Gordioidea Nematomorpha (sometimes called Gordiacea, and commonly known as horsehair worms or Gordian worms) are a phylum of parasitic animals which are morphologically and ecologically similar to nematode worms, hence the name. ... The Aschelminthes (also known as Aeschelminthes, Nemathelminthes, or Pseudocoelomata), closely associated with the Platyhelminthes, are an obsolete phylum of pseudocoelomate and other similar animals that are no longer considered closely related and have been promoted to phyla in their own right. ...


Some worms reproduce sexually. Hermaphroditism, the condition in which a single individual possesses both male and female reproductive parts, is common in many groups of worms. Asexual reproduction, whereby new individuals develop from the body cells of another, also occurs in some worms. An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... Asexual reproduction in liverworts: a caducuous phylloid germinating Asexual reproduction is a form of reproduction which does not involve meiosis, ploidy reduction, or fertilization. ...


Worm species differ in their abilities to move about on their own. Many species have bodies with no major muscles, and cannot move on their own — they must be moved by forces or other animals in their environment. Many other species have bodies with major muscles and can move on their own; they are a type of muscular hydrostat. Many species of worms are decomposers; they break down dead plants and animals to return nutrients to the soil. For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... A muscular hydrostat is a biological structure, found in animals. ...


See also

A worm cast is the name given to a structure created by worms, typically on beaches, that gives the appearance of multiple worms. ... An earthworm in damp soil. ...

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