Earthworm Quotes“It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.”
- Charles Darwin 1881
"Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible.”
- Charles Darwin
The message is not so much that the worms will inherit the Earth, but that all things play a role in nature, even the lowly worm.
If worms carried pistols, birds wouldn't eat 'em.
- Darrell Royal
Just under the surface I shall be, all together at first, then separate and drift, through all the earth and perhaps in the end through a cliff into the sea, something of me. A ton of worms in an acre, that is a wonderful thought, a ton of worms, I believe it.
There are lots of different strategies that an animal can use to survive. What a worm does is try to convert food into worms as soon as possible. In three days a single worm produces 300 progeny. So why put your resources into developing if you can make a brand-new worm in no time at all?
- Cynthia Kenyon
I thought I'd love to be a gardener because I grew up with a vegetable garden and I love being close to the Earth and growing things. At my home in L.A., I have a great garden and I grow all kinds of things. I even have a worm farm! The worms help create organic compost out of kitchen scraps.
“I must own I had always looked on worms as amongst the most helpless and unintelligent members of the creation; and am amazed to find that they have a domestic life and public duties!”
- Joseph Hooker, 19th century British botanist
“Their sexual passion is strong enough to overcome for a time their dread of light.” Charles Darwin, father of earthworm science and author of The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Actions of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits.
“As few as 11 large earthworms can transfer a lethal dose of DDT to a robin. And 11 worms form a small part of a day’s rations to a bird that eats 10 to 12 earthworms in as many minutes.” Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, on the role of earthworms as vectors in DDT contamination
“I used to say that one ton of worms could eat one ton of garbage. I was always thinking big like that. Then I found out that Seattle had distributed four thousand worm bins. I did some figuring and realized that worked out to ten tons of garbage going into worm bins. That’s when I realized—it’s happening! It just isn’t happening the way I originally thought it would.” Mary Appelhof, worm composting activist and author of Worms Eat My Garbage
“When stepped on, the worm curls up. That is a clever thing to do. Thus it reduces its chances of being stepped on again. In the language of morality: humility.” Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century German philosopher
“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.” William Shakespeare on the earthworm’s transformative power
“I spent whole afternoons in the dirt, making my patch of ground flawless. I even cleared the worms away, before I found out that all the tunnels they make give air, and probably other molecules I don’t know about yet, to the plants.” Jane Hamilton, The Book of Ruth
“People ask me, why bother cataloging earthworms? Well, why catalog anything? It’s how we learn about the world we live in. Besides, some of these worms are going extinct. How do you know what you’re losing if you don’t know what you have?” John Reynolds, Canadian earthworm taxonomist whose collection of 100,000 earthworms resides with the Canadian Museum of Nature
“Nobody and nothing can be compared with earthworms in their positive influence on the whole living Nature. They create soil and everything that lives in it. They are the most numerous animals on Earth and the main creatures converting all organic matter into soil humus providing soil’s fertility and biosphere’s functions: disinfecting, neutralizing, protective and productive.”
- Anatoly M. Igonin21, Ph. D., Professor at the Vladimir Pedagogical University, Vladimir, Russia, as quoted in Casting Call 9(2), Aug 2004.
"A worm casting (also known as worm cast or vermicast) is a biologically active mound containing thousands of bacteria, enzymes, and remnants of plant materials and animal manures that were not digested by the earthworm. The composting process continues after a worm casting has been deposited. In fact, the bacterial population of a cast is much greater than the bacterial population of either ingested soil, or the earthworm's gut. An important component of this dark mass if humus. Humus is a complicated material formed during the breakdown of organic matter. One of its components, humic acid, provides many binding sites for plant nutrients, such as calcium, iron, potassium, sulfur and phosphorus. These nutrients are stored in the humic acid molecule in a form readily available to plants, and are released when the plants require them.”
- Mary Appelhof, Worms Eat My Garbage, 1982, p.68.
“Earthworm castings are the best imaginable potting soil for greenhouses or houseplants, as well as gardening and farming. It will not burn even the most delicate plants and all nutrients are water-soluble, making it an immediate plant food. Earthworm castings, in addition to their use as a potting soil, can be used as a planting soil for trees, vegetables, shrubs, and flowers. They may be used as a mulch so that the minerals leach directly into the ground when watered. The effects of earthworm castings used in any of these ways are immediately visible. They make plants grow fast and strong. Nematodes and diseases will not ruin gardens or plants if the soil is rich enough for them to grow fast. It is the weak plant in poor soil that is destroyed by nematodes and diseases.”
- R.E. Gaddie and D.E. Douglas, Earthworms For Ecology and Profit, Vol. I "Scientific Earthworm Farming," 1975, p. 175.
Earthworms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm ... worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them.
[Showing an early awareness in ecology.]
— Gilbert White