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Characteristics of the earthworm

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Earthworms belong to a class of oligochaetes (Annelida) worms. Most species found in the former Soviet Union, are members of Lumbricidae family, which includes about 180 species of worms, but only 15-16 of them are the most common. Among all species of earthworms only some can be breed in artificial conditions. They include red worms, in particular the California red hybrid which in the process of selection has acquired a unique property - it does not leave its area of residence, even under adverse conditions. This makes possible breeding it in the ridges in the open, not fearing the loss of population. Red worm lives in areas with a temperate climate. A grown individual reaches a length of 8-10 cm, 3-5 mm thick diameter, weights 0.8 – 1g and has a body temperature of -19-20 ° C. It consumes an amount of food that is approximately equal to its mass (about 1 g) per day, after digesting which it releases 0.80.9 g of coprolites. The largest particles that the worm can swallow, measure up to 1 mm. Its life expectancy is almost 16 years (wild species - 4 years). It is very prolific. The Sexual maturity occurs at age of three months and under optimal conditions, one individual can have an average of 1,500 offsprings per year. This worm is hermaphrodite. Each individual has male and female sex organs, but cannot selffertilize on its own. Sexually mature individuals mutually fertilize each other. The fertilized eggs are separated from the body of the worm and placed in a protein ring or capsule (cocoon), which first takes yellow and then brown colors. Beginning from the 90th day, it regularly mates every 7 days. The pairing of two individuals results in the production of two eggs or capsules, 1 on each individual, which mature and disclose in 14-21 days, depending on conditions. Each capsule contains from 2 to 20 worms. Cocoons contain liquid, which feeds the young. At the time of piping young animals are white. The optimum temperature is 20-22 ° C, and the critical is below O ° C or above 42 ° C. At a temperature of +7 ° C the worm falls into a state of hibernation, that means that the worm is still alive, but immobile

and does not eat. The optimal humidity is situated between 75-88%, and the critical - below 60% and above 90%. Practice has shown that cultured worms do not get sick and are resistant to epizootics. They can die only in case of violation of their cultivation technology. Most often, the death of worms is caused by protein poisoning in incomplete substrate fermentation. As a result, the worm is "acidic" and releases harmful gases, which are deadly to other worms.

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