Charles Darwin named it perhaps the most important creature on earth – because without it, our soil would wither away.
It is one of the early highlights of biology studies: first-year students explore the anatomy of the earthworm with a scalpel, magnifying glass and tweezers. The interior of Lumbricus terrestris is amazingly organized and surprisingly diverse. Five ring-shaped hearts wind around the throat, pumping blood through the worm. There are testicles and ovaries—the beasts are male and female at the same time—and kidney-like organs called nephridia. Everything is encased by longitudinal and circular muscles, thanks to which the blind bottom dweller digs through the ground.