Wondering Why?

Why do worms have 5 hearts?

Worms are insects that have very long tube-like bodies.  They live on or underneath the soil and they typically feed on leaves, small insects, and other dead matter found in the soil or under the ground.  In terms of its cardiovascular system, worms are said to have 5 hearts.  The reason for this is that worms have 5 circulatory centers spread out in their entire body and each of these systems performs to pump the blood towards the other parts of the worm’s body.  In essence, these 5 circulatory centers resemble the function of the heart which is to pump out blood to various organs and parts of the body.  Without these circulatory centers, blood in worms will have a hard time reaching distant parts of the body.

The circulatory system in worms that functions like 5 hearts is actually blood vessels that are situated in various parts of the worm’s body.  The topmost blood vessel is referred to as the dorsal vessel and this is located near the worm’s digestive tract.  Below it is another circulatory center called the bottom or ventral vessel.  Another circulatory center passes the bottom portion of the worm’s nerve cord and it is referred to as the subneural vessel.  On each side of the nerve cord, there are also two lateral vessels which complete the set of five circulatory systems that help pump blood throughout the worm’s body.  In terms of blood flow direction, only the topmost or dorsal vessel pumps blood in a forward direction, the other four vessels function to push blood towards the tail end of worms.

With the worm’s tube-like and very long bodies, it is just right that their cardiovascular and circulatory systems are created in such a way that the pumping of blood is distributed all throughout the body.  With an efficient circulatory system, all other important parts and organs in the worm’s body will receive enough supply of blood.


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