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Earthworms
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.81

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    aerate, albeit, annelids, aspect, clitella, clitellum, cylindrical, discard, distinct, head-end, ingest, locomotion, longitudinal, mating, plant-eating, pointed


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Earthworms   

1     Have you ever seen an earthworm? It has a long, cylindrical body that tapers off at both ends. When you pull the wriggling worm from beneath the soil, can you tell right away which side is its head and which side marks its tail? Well, though the task seems difficult, there is a trick to solving the mystery. You see, of the two ends, one is more pointed than the other. The sharper end is the earthworm's anterior or head-end, whereas the blunter end is its posterior or tail-end.
 
2     But, what if you think both ends appear identical to you? Don't worry; here is another helpful clue. An adult earthworm has a distinct, swollen, slightly light-colored band on its body. We call it a clitellum (pronounced "klei-TEL-um", plural: clitella.) The two regions on either side of the clitellum are not the same length. The tip of the shorter region is the animal's anterior (head-end).
 
3     Earthworms are annelids or segmented worms because their bodies are divided into numerous segments or sections. They cannot see, hear, or smell. Yet, these shortcomings do not seem to bother them one bit! To find their way around underground, earthworms rely on sensory devices, called prostomia (singular: prostomium [pronounced "pro-STO-mee-am"]) near their mouths and sensory receptors in their skin to detect light and feel vibration.

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