Being uncertain about whether worms are insects or animals is not uncommon if you are not a scientific person.
In general, there are two groups of organisms: vertebrates and invertebrates. Since worms lack any bones, they are classified as invertebrates together with slugs, centipedes, spiders, and their kin.
Worms come in many different varieties, including the flatworm, the earthworm, and many others. One can tell one from another by a subtle or significant variation in appearance. What sort of organisms are worms is the most frequent area of misconception among laypeople.
With this misunderstanding, our scientific community can provide assistance. Worms have been on Earth for a very long time. They have undergone several adjustments and have survived in these harsh conditions.
Scientists have now revealed to the public whether worms are an insect or an animal following extensive research on the origins and lineage of worms. Continue reading to learn the truth. Do read about what worms eat and mango worms after learning why these critters are called worms.
What are Worms?
Worms are usually long, squishy creatures of many quite distinct and unrelated species. The flatworm, roundworm, and segmented worm are the three most prevalent forms of worms among them.
Soft, unsegmented invertebrates called flatworms. They are constrained to this flat form because they lack specialized respiratory systems, which enables them to breathe through their skin. Flatworms only have one body cavity, which they use for digestion and waste excretion.
In contrast, roundworms have holes on both ends of their bodies, allowing them to consume from one end and expel waste from the other. In addition to having body segments, segmented worms frequently feature parapodia, which resemble legs and aid in movement. The earthworm is the most well-known kind of segmented worm.
Are Worms Insects or Animals?
If a worm were an animal or a bug, how would you approach it? Many people are perplexed as to whether worms are insects or animals. Several traits make them appear to be connected to both.
However, that is untrue. Worms are absolutely, totally animals. They are not insects because of their distinctive traits. They differ greatly in both form and function from insects, for example, lacking legs and eyes.
Worms are animals and not insects. Worms are not insects, despite the fact that both insects and worms belong to the Animalia kingdom.
Invertebrates without a backbone include worms. On the other hand, insects have an exoskeleton. The whole body of the insect is supported by its skeleton. The main indication that worms are not insects is provided by this. Exoskeletons may molt after reaching a specific point in their lives. Worms, however, don’t have an exoskeleton, thus they can’t molt.
Worms breathe through their skin pores, whereas insects have a trachea. Because of these distinctions, it is obvious that worms are animals. Flatworms, roundworms, and segmented worms are the three primary categories of worms. Worms are all types of invertebrate creatures.
What is the Difference Between an Insect and a Bug?
Generally speaking, all insects are referred to as bugs. They don’t continue to investigate to see if it really is an insect or a bug. They will discover that there is a clear distinction between bugs and insects if they look.
Insects have a subclass called bugs. All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs, it is reasonable to claim. The class Insecta includes both bugs and insects.
Bugs are members of the Hemiptera order. Bug bodies differ from those of other insects in form. They have a stylet, a mouth that resembles a straw that they use to consume food and drink. Not all insects possess the stylet. The majority of insects have lengthy, segmented antennae. At the bottom, they are thick, and at the top, they are thinner.
Members of the class of bugs have forewings that are particularly strong due to their unique form. At the point of attachment to the body, they are darker, and above that, they are transparent. During flying, their wings support their entire bodies and prevent them from falling.
When referring to parasitic worms, particularly nematodes and tapeworms that are taenia that are parasitic in the host’s intestines, worms can also be referred to as roundworms or flatworms in medical terminology.
Animals or people who “have worms” are really infected with parasites, typically roundworms or tapeworms. Lungworms are another typical parasitic worm that may be found in many different animal species, including fish and cats.
What are Invertebrates?
Worms are considered an invertebrate, as has been said. The definition of the word “invertebrate” is “animals without backbones.”
Only few invertebrates have an exoskeleton, which is a bony structure that supports and makes up the complete structure of the body. The size of invertebrates can range from microscopic to several meters. One of the biggest groupings in the kingdom Animalia is known to be invertebrates. Invertebrates are thought to make up around 97 percent of all known animal species in the kingdom Animalia.
Invertebrates include worms. They largely exhibit the traits that an invertebrate should have. Invertebrates are further divided into subgroups according to their life cycle, evolutionary history, and physical characteristics.
Insects, centipedes, worms, slaters, spiders, millipedes, velvet worms, land hoppers, and other significant groups are categorized as invertebrates. One such crucial subtype is worms.
Being highly adaptive, invertebrates. They have a reputation for enduring harsh environmental conditions. They are capable of surviving almost anyplace on Earth.
Worms are an invertebrate class that inhabits the ocean’s depths, the summits of mountains, deserts, tropical rainforests, lava-filled volcanoes, and glacier-covered waterways. They perfectly mimic invertebrates’ ability to survive. Worms are invertebrates with squishy bodies that lack a skeleton.
A brand-new worm species was just found by divers in the Southern Ocean. Because they consume dead whale bones at the bottom of ice-cold seas in the Antarctic and other regions of the planet, these worms are known as “bone-eating worms.”
In order to consume the fatty lipids required for survival, the Antarctic bone-eating worms, technically known as Osedax antarcticus, release acid to dissolve the hard calcium from the bones of a whale carcass.
Greeffiella, a roundworm that is just 80 micrometers long, now holds the record for the tiniest worm in the world. Additionally, it is totally transparent, making it simple for researchers to analyze the worm’s anatomy.
Contrary to popular belief, not all worms are long and squishy. Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, the pig butt worm, has two swollen portions that closely resemble a butt. It can float with the current where it dwells in the water because to its rounded form.
Group of Worms
In Europe throughout the 13th century, worms were classified as reptiles. The reptiles included a variety of egg-laying animals, such as snakes, lizards, and different amphibians. Various other animals, including larvae, insects, millipedes, centipedes, shipworms, teredo worms, and even certain vertebrates, such blind worms and caecilians, are frequently referred to as “worms” in common usage.
There are various types of worms. the first flat creatures, such as trematodes, tapeworms, and flatworms. They feature a single pair of eyes in the front of a flat, banded, or leaf-shaped body. Some of them are pests. Roundworms, hookworms, and roundworms make up the second category.
Nematodes make up this phylum. Nematodes range in size from microscopic to over one meter long, like vinegar nematodes. They can be found in moss, decaying matter, freshwater, sea, or damp soil. Some types of roundworms are parasites.
For instance, people in tropical nations have guinea worms living beneath the skin of their feet and legs. Segmented worms with ring- or segment-shaped bodies make up the third category. The name of this door is Annelida. Earthworms and sea caterpillars are a couple of them.
Earthworms are a common type of worm and belong to the group Annelids. Worms can also refer to other types of invertebrate groupings, especially in colloquial use. The term “worm” is used to describe a wide variety of unrelated insect larvae, including caterpillars, railroad worms, woodworms, firefly, red worms, hookworms, mealworms, and silkworms.
Therefore, the study of parasitic worms is known as helminthology. A human or animal, such as a dog or a horse, is said to have worms if they are infested with parasites, most frequently roundworms or tapeworms.
By using anthelmintics, deworming is a technique for getting rid of worms that have infected people or animals. A skin fungus, not a worm, causes ringworm.
The Different Subspecies Of Worms
Worms of various species are found all over the planet. Here, we’ll talk about several typical worm types to familiarize you with them.
Each species possesses unique qualities of its own. The phyla Nematoda, Phylum Platyhelminthes, and Phylum Annelida are the three primary phyla of worms. There are several worm subspecies within each of these phyla. Some parasitic worms also have hosts that are people or other animals.
The term “annelids” refers to worms that are members of the phylum Annelida. Common annelids include bristle worms and earthworms.
Normally, the bodies of annelids are segmented. Nematoda phylum worms often have cylindrical shapes. Nematodes include roundworms, hookworms, and threadworms. Flukes, flatworms, and ribbon-like tapeworms are members of the phylum Platyhelminthes.
Worms can also be divided into freshwater and marine varieties. Seas and other saline water bodies include marine worms. The nature of many marine worms is parasitic. They cause human skin infections.
Tapeworms, threadworms, bookworms, flukes, and other marine worms are all very bothersome parasites. For the majority of worm infestations, science has aided in the discovery of treatments. After only a few days of therapy, a person may be close to being fully well.
Unlike humans, animals like dogs, cats, and cattle are more likely to contract such worm infections.
Beachworms (family Onuphidae), which live deep beneath the sand of surf beaches, are highly well-liked as fishing bait in many regions of Australia. Their keen sense of smell, which is essential for locating them, allows them to scavenge beach carrion like dead fish or seabirds.
By taking use of the beachworm’s exceptionally sensitive “nose,” fishermen lure the worms to the surface of the sand by gently dragging a stinky piece of fish or meat through the wash zone of the beach.
The skilled worm catcher will pinch the worm just below the head and delicately pull out the entire worm, which may be several meters long, when it pokes its head out of the sand to accept the bait.
However, extracting the entire worm without damaging the delicate body requires a lot of skill and experience, and many beginners have ended up with little more than the worm head. Fortunately, the remaining portion of the worm may typically develop a new head.
Are Worms Arthropods?
Arthropods and annelids are two distinct animal families in biology. There are subtypes within each category.
Shrimp, lobster, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, and insects like cockroaches and beetles are examples of arthropods. Leeches and worms are examples of annelids.
When assigning animals to these various groups, a number of distinct traits are taken into account. If so, does that imply that worms are not arthropods? Let’s investigate.
Animal categorization is based on a number of fundamental traits, including body composition, reproductive strategies, and circulatory systems. The phylum Annelida, which is different from the phylum Arthropoda, is where worms normally belong.
Exoskeletons are a feature of all arthropods. We already know that worms don’t have legs or an exoskeleton. As a result, it may be said that the body structure of arthropods differs from that of worms. Arthropods have an open circulatory system, whereas annelids have a closed one. Even worms and arthropods have unique circulatory systems.
The term “Glow Worm” refers to a variety of insect larvae and adult female larvae that glow due to bioluminescence.
However, bioluminescence also occurs in beetles from the Firefly, Phengodidae, and Rhagophthalmidae families as well as in mosquitoes from the Ceratium fungus, members of the genera Arachnocampa, Keroplatus, and Orfelia. Glowworms include European fireflies and other members of the Firefly family. There are four bioluminescent bugs.
These bioluminescent species’ wingless larval females and larvae are frequently referred to as fireflies. Bioluminescence may or may not be present in wingless males. Its light can be seen as flashes or as continuous luminescence, and its hues typically range from green to orange to yellow.
Members of the superfamily Elateroidea, these families are closely linked to one another. Bioluminescence may have a single evolutionary origin in the Lampyridae, Phengodidae, and Gymnophthalmidae families, according to phylogenetic study. But it’s likely to show up on its own in the Elateridae.
Click beetles belong to the family Elateridae. About 200 species from tropical America and a few islands in Melanesia are among the 10,000 species that are thought to belong to this family and are bioluminescent. With the exception of one species, they are all members of the Pyrophorinae subfamily. Balgus schnusei belongs to the Thylacosterninae subfamily, and Campyloxenuspyrothorax to the Campyloxeninae subfamily.
Around 2,000 different species can be found worldwide. This family includes some fireflies. Firefly beetles belong to the family Phengodidae. It has over 230 species that are exclusive to the New World. Railway worms are a member of the family and are the only red-emitting terrestrial bioluminescent creatures.
About 30 species of the family Rhagophthalmidae are known throughout Asia. This family’s legality has not yet been completely established. Prior to being recognized as a separate family, Rhagophthalmidae was classified as a subfamily of Phengodidae.