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Discovery Magazine 2/1/2011

The Earth is Crawling with Worms

by  Willie the Word Worm

Hello kids. It’s Willie the Word Worm here today to tell you all about worms. But first, let me introduce myself. Some of you kids may know me already. I am the news anchorworm for the popular kids’ television program “Digger Doug’s Underground.” My specialty is words. Any time Iguana Don, Digger Doug, Professor Whitecoat, or some other character on our show uses an important or difficult word, I pop up in the show and explain what the word means. I also follow leads and get the scoop on really exciting stories, like the time Iggy wrecked his bike, or the time he caused Professor Whitecoat to blow-up Whitecoat laboratories. But nevermind about that. Today, I want to give you the scoop on something amazing: worms. That’s right, this issue of Discoverymagazine is all about creepy, crawly worms.

You might not know it, but worms are everywhere. “What is a worm?,” you may ask. A worm is a slender critter with no legs and no backbone. Some people think that caterpillars are worms, but they are not. They have legs and are really larval (juvenile) stages of insects. The truth is, God designed thousands of different species of worms that live in almost every type of environment you can imagine. For instance, let’s think about the bootlace worm, also known as the ribbon worm. These “little” critters live in the water, especially in the ocean, and are often only a few inches long. But, they sure can get big! One bootlace worm that washed up on the shore of Scotland in the 1800s was over 180 feet long. In fact, scientists think that some bootlace worms can grow to be 200 feet long. That would make them the longest animals in the world. Just for your information, the second longest animal in the world is the lion’s mane jellyfish that can grow tentacles up to 120 feet long. Isn’t it amazing that God designed a worm that can grow to be half as long as an entire football field?

Another interesting kind of worm you will study about in this issue is the earthworm. We asked Dr. Jeff Miller, a scientist that works for Apologetics Press, to write an article about earthworms and he did a great job. One thing you might like to know is that in Africa, there is a worm called the African Giant Worm that can grow to be over two feet long. That is about as long as your arm. Imagine trying to bait a fishhook with that squirming giant!

Let me tell you about another amazing worm. This one was named “Barry.” It’s true! The people who found him gave him a name because he was so interesting. In 2009, researchers at an aquarium in England were having a terrible time with one of their aquariums. Something was killing the fish and demolishing the coral reef in the tank. The researchers set traps with hooks and very strong fishing line. But whatever was killing the coral appeared to be eating the metal hooks and breaking the fishing line as well. Finally, the workers decided they had to remove the coral and take the entire tank environment apart. When they did, they found a four-foot long bristle worm. That worm was as long as many of our Discovery readers are tall. The workers named the worm Barry. Big Barry was not easy to remove, because he was covered with thousands of pointy spikes that cause permanent numbness to humans.

Not all worms, as you know, are as big as bristle worm Barry. There is a group of worms known as arrow worms. They live in the ocean. And you have probably never seen them. The reason you have never seen them is because they are so tiny. They are very common and are considered to be ocean plankton. Maybe you have heard of plankton. It is the stuff that blue whales filter out of the water as food. Well, these arrow worms are shaped like tiny arrows (that’s where they get their name). They swim about in the ocean and eat other plankton organisms that are smaller than them.

I could go on and on telling you about all the amazingly different, wonderfully designed worms of the world. But we’re out of time. Remember, whenever we see design, we know that an intelligent designer must be responsible for it. Only God could design and create so many remarkable, wonderful worms. This is Willie the Word Worm signing off.



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