Worms are long and cylindrical in shape and have no legs. Most worms are classified as invertebrate animals. There are different types of worms that are distantly related. Worms differ in size, from minute size to one meter in the case of marine bristle worms. African giant earthworm is 6.7 meters long and marine nemertean worm is 58 meters long.
Various worms inhabit small and different parasitic niches. Some worms reside inside animals’ body. The free-living worms live in fresh or marine water environments or by burrowing underground.
The term worm originates from the old English word ‘’wyrm’’. It also used for slowworm Angius, a burrowing lizard without legs and amphibian caecilians. The invertebrates called worms include round worms, earthworms, arrow worms, and insect larvae such as maggots.
Worms may also be referred to as helminthes especially in medicine. Helminthes are parasitic worms specially tapeworms and round worms. Tapeworms inhabit the intestines of animals referred to as the host. When human or an animal has worms, it is under infestation with parasitic worms such as tapeworms or round worms. Some animal species such as cats and fish may contain Lungworms.
Grouping Of Worms
The word worm also apply to other living things such as insects, shipworms, millipedes, centipedes, and some vertebrates like caecilians and blind worms. The following are some of worms groups:
Platyhelminthes include flatworms, flukes and tapeworms. They have ribbon, flat or leaf-shaped body. Platyhelminthes possess a pair of eyes in front. This species mostly lead a parasitic mode of life.
Nematodes compose of round worms, threadworms, and hookworms. They belong to phylum Nemadota. Threadworms are not visible with naked eyes and they include vinegar eelworm which 1meter long. Threadworms can also be referred to as pinworms. They are common worms that infest people in Australia. Threadworms mainly infest children and some signs include tiredness, itchy bottom, disturbed sleep, and irritability.
Furthermore, threadworms thrive well in decaying materials, soil, fresh water, moss, and salt water. On the other hand, some roundworms are also parasites. For instance, Guinea worm pierces into peoples’ legs and under feet in the tropical countries.
Annelids are segmented worms with bodies that have rings or segments. They belong to phylum Annelida. Examples of annelids are bristle worms of the sea and earthworms. Annelids fall under the current obsolete group of Vermes. Vermes is a paraphyletic group of unrelated phyla. However, Planulozoa is the original group that seems to be the first Vermes lineage.
Whipworms are whip-shaped. Their larvae infest the intestine of humans and they are contracted by touching infected human waste.
Filariae worms inhabit the lymphatic system. They lead to disfiguring and painful condition called lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis. Mosquitos spread Filariae worms.
Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection. It is also commonly known as ‘’tinea’’. Ringworm always affects the feet (tinea pedis), the groin (tinea cruis), and the scalp (tinea capitis). Ringworm is highly contagious and it infects a person through the following ways: rubbing pets, touching infected objects like towels and clothes, and standing barefoot in infected soil among others.