Monday, 27 June 2011


Have you ever seen a worm having a nap? Its difficult to observe if worms sleep due to them inconveniently living underground. I assume digging them up would wake them. And if they do sleep, what do they dream of? 

Worms are invertebrates with long, cylindrical bodies that have no limbs. They move around by moving bristles on their body. Having no true vertebrate brain, their functions are controlled by nerve centres called the ganglia. They have no eyes, relying on photo receptive cells to distinguish light instead.  Worms are hermaphrodites, having both male and female sexual organs, but can cross fertilise.

Worms can eat and digest between half and all of their body weight in a single day, converting waste into nutrient-rich worm casts. They need to retain moisture and do this by secreting mucus.  Moving through the soil in chambers, worms travel up to the surface to mate and feed. They are constantly active during a 24 period, although they are more active from dawn to dusk.

Worms are generally considered by scientists not to sleep.  They may enter a dormant state during periods of drought or heat when soil conditions change, and this is known as Dispause.  During this dormant period they make a chamber into which they curl up into a mucus covered ball. Because all other behaviours cease, this dormant period is the closest a worm gets to sleeping.

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