The mouth end of the red wiggler is microscopic in size.
It is shaped like an elephant’s trunk and in fact is called a proboscis, just like the elephant’s it searches around for food it wants and favors.
The helpers in the bin will first eat the food you have given the worms and once it is down to the size a worm can handle it the worms will eat it.
In order for the worm to be able to digest the food each worm has a crop and a gizzard, much like all birds do, to help grind their food in order to digest it properly.
This food will pass through the mouth area, move on to the fore gut, then the mid gut and then to the hind gut. After that last gut the material is called casting(s) and is expelled through the worm’s anus.
Each worm has the sex organs of both female and male. They do mate. This is done at their clittelum where the vas deferens and ova ducts are located. They join together like your forefingers if you knot them together and stay that way for up to three hours. During this time they exchange the fluids from the sex organs and when they separate a thin film is around each of their bodies at the clitellum. This film is around the new cocoon of potential hatchlings. It migrates up and over the top of the worm’s head. The end of it is flat, closed off when it leaves the worm. The first part of the cocoon to come off is pointed. This gives it a lemon-like shape and it is in fact lemon in color. It will change color during it’s maturation, from yellow to orange to a ruby red before hatching.
The red worm has a very basic circulatory system which does have a beat-like factor originating from the 5 pseudo hearts which is just after the crop and gizzard area. This system does go throughout the worm’s body.
The main nerve center of the worm’s body is located in the worm’s head. It is a basic ganglion. This enables each worm to detect heat, cold, light, certain elements they like in their food.
The worm breathes through it’s entire outer body. This is just one of the reasons it may, to some people, appear slimy. If we had out lungs on the outside of our bodies they would be pink to red and shiny also. The reason a worm can’t tolerate being out of it’s bin or the leaf litter, if it is not in a bin for long is that it loses it’s moist outer and protective sheen to the sun in less than two minutes. After that long it will suffocate and perish. This another reason to alway ensure that the moisture level of your worm bin is between 55% to 75% damp.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing my velvet worm and have learned from it.