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The earthworms are also known as megadriles, in the families Tubificidae, Lumbriculidae, and Enchytraeidae, among others. The basic body plan is a tube, the digestive system, within a tube, the muscular slimy, moist outer body. The body is annular, formed of segments that are most specialized in the anterior and have a simple circulatory system. They have two main blood vessels that extend through the length of their body: a ventral blood vessel which leads the blood to the posterior end, and a dorsal blood vessel which leads to the anterior end. The dorsal vessel is contractile and pumps blood forward, where it is pumped into the ventral vessel by a series of “hearts” (aortic arches) which vary in number in the different taxa.




Winchell, Alexander Sketches of Creation (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1870)


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