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Earthworms found to travel in herds

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posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 10:24 AM
....and make "group decisions".


Earthworms form herds and make "group decisions", scientists have discovered.

The earthworms use touch to communicate and influence each other's behaviour, according to research published in the journal Ethology.

By doing so the worms collectively decide to travel in the same direction as part of a single herd.

The striking behaviour, found in the earthworm Eisenia fetida, is the first time that any type of worm, or annelid, has been shown to form active herds.

Very cool.

For some reason, this seems very fitting to me.

Such noble creatures...

[edit on 10-4-2010 by loam]

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 11:36 AM
Interesting.....We are finding more information day by day, that a lot of insects and bacteria/viruses are smarter then we give them credit for. Good Thread!

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 11:45 AM
What's that sound?
Stampede! Run for your life!

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 12:30 PM
Here info about two more species of worms, which show herdlike behaviour. One, the palolo worm is an annelid species, living in coral reefs. It is eaten by Samoans. The other, the lancet liver fluke is a parasite which infects three different hosts.

Palolo worm

During the breeding season, which is always at the same time of the year, the palolo or samoa worm Palola viridis shows mass spawning. The worms breaks in half. The headless tail sections swim to the surface and release their eggs and sperm simultaneously.

Palolo worms are an annelid sea worm of the Eunicidae family that inhabit tropical and temperate ocean waters worldwide. Their unique spawning behaviour first attracted attention in the South Pacific, particularly Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and other Polynesian islands, where swarms of headless palolo worms, of the species Eunice viridis, are taken for food during their annual risings. During a spawn, the rear end of the worm breaks off and undulates to the surface, releasing eggs and sperm in a milky, gelatinous soup. The head end remains attached to its burrow at the ocean floor. Palolo worms in the South Pacific are eaten boiled, fried or raw, or can be baked into palolo loaf with coconut milk and onions. They are often eaten on toast or crackers like caviar.

Lancet liver fluke

A non-annelid species of worm is the lancet liver fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum. It shows herdlike behaviour inside ants. Ants are one of the three different hosts (ruminants like sheep, snails and ants) these strange parasites infect.

Snails produce slime balls, which contain cercariae (small wormlike stadiums of this parasite). The slime is eaten by ants. In the ants, the cercariae start to migrate towards the brain . One infects the ant's brain (sub-esophageal ganglion). It becomes the brainworm.

This a trigger for the other cercariae to migrate back to the hemocoel. They encyst themselves. The brainworm alters the behaviour of the ant. The ant will bite into a plant, it's mandibles will cramp, trapping the ant helpless. These trapped ants will then be eaten by herbivore mammals, which become the definitive hosts.
Normally the definitive host is a ruminant like a sheep or a cow, but humans can also become infected, if they eat infected ants.

General info about the lancet liver fluke:

Article how cercariae behave and migrate inside the ants (article is in German).

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 12:32 PM
Is that why they all stampede onto my driveway when it rains?

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 12:45 PM
*Bust out Laughing*

Sounds like something from Gary Larson...

I love it!

Thanks tons Loam for a great thread!


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