It’s easy to assume that worms may have more than just their slimy bodies to navigate around soil with. The way that an earthworm navigates both the soil surface and deeper underground is absolutely fascinating. But, are there tiny legs attached anywhere along their segments? Is there a limb segment we simply cannot see?
You won’t have to search for them, as no, worms do not have legs. They move around using their muscles and tiny bristles on their skin.
This might seem like an obvious answer, however, it is a common misconception to think otherwise.
Are there animals that look like worms that have legs attached? How do worms get around if they don’t have legs as supports? Let’s find out.
How many legs are on a worm?
Neither earthworms, nor any other kind of worm, have legs – in any shape or form.
A worm is an invertebrate which is to say that they have no bone structure, including no vertebral column. Earthworms move forward thanks to their muscle power alone.
There are, however, worm-like creatures that can remind us of worms without actually belonging to the same animal category.
There are six big general animal categories. There are mammals, fish, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians, and birds.
Of course, as there are approximately 8. 7 million species on earth, there are plenty of sub-categories in which to place them.
For example, although worms land in the invertebrates without legs category, there are plenty of worm-like animals that fall under the invertebrate category but with legs.
Are There Species of Worms with Legs?
No, there are no species of worms with legs.
The first creature that may come to mind when thinking of worms with legs is the millipede.
Millipedes do indeed belong to the invertebrate category as they do not have bones.
Quite like worms, they are also very adept at rolling into balls and stretching out their elongated bodies.
They also look like worms as their bodies are uniform in measurements and do not have three distinct sections, such as insects.
Insects are divided into three areas: the head, the abdomen, and the thorax.
Millipedes, however, have a lot more sections, each containing two pairs of legs.
Much like worms, they too live in the soil and feed on decaying organic matter, thus aerating the soil and helping to consume the dead matter.
However, as they are neither insects nor worms, they are, in fact, arthropods.
Arthropods have an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and paired jointed legs. In fact, certain insects are a part of the arthropod family, including bees, butterflies, beetles, etc.
Another animal that can make us think of worms with legs is the Amphisbaenia, also known as the worm lizard. These animals look like earthworms; however, they are reptiles.
Why Do Worms Not Have Legs?
The answer to the question “why do worms not have legs? ” would be as simple and as difficult as the answer to the question “ why do humans not have wings?”.
A quick answer would just be “because they don’t” – which, in truth, is just the way it is.
However, another question could be, “ why would worms need legs?”.
As humans, we rely on our limbs to get around, feel, work, eat, etc. However, worms do not function in the same way as we do.
When it comes to moving around, earthworms use circular and longitudinal muscles by contracting and releasing them to move forward.
They also use the microscopic bristles on their skin to grip surfaces as they move forward.
What about feeling? Well, a worm’s skin is very sensitive. In fact, their skin is full of receptors that can detect light, vibrations, and even smell and potentially taste.
It is thanks to these receptors that worms are capable of positioning themselves in safe areas, away from predators and too much sunlight!
When it comes to eating, earthworms are more than able to position themselves adequately in order for their mouths to receive the nutrients from the decaying organic matter that they eat.
Final Thoughts & Summary
So, there we have it; worms do not have legs.
Instead, there are worm-like creatures that are belonging to the invertebrate or even the reptilian family which have them – and some of us end up getting a bit confused.
However, there is no need to worry about limbless worms. As you can see, worms are more than capable of surviving without legs, thanks to their strong muscles and reliable receptors.