SPECIES ID / Invertebrates

Aquatic Earthworms

Phylum:Annelida
Class:Oligochaeta
Order:
Family:

Identification Tips:

• Segmented, muscular, elongated, tubular body
• No suckers or eye spots

Life History:

• Most types burrow soft mud or silt pond or lake bottoms but may be found in all habitat types
• Breathe through their skin, and/or by pumping water in and out of the anus
• Some species are bright red (hemoglobin) and tolerate very low oxygen or may live without oxygen for weeks
• Able to regenerate lost or damaged portions of the body
• Activity mixes top layers of sediment in lakes and ponds, aerating it
• Life span ranges from several weeks to several years, depending on species

POLLUTION TOLERANCE
Very SensitiveSomewhat SensitiveFacultativeSomewhat TolerantVery Tolerant
 SomeSomeSomeMost

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Primary Information Source:
Voshell, J. Reese. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company. Blacksburg, Virginia.