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The Earthworm Lab

Observing Behavior of a Living Earthworm

You will create a lab report for this lab. It will include all of the parts listed
below. Each part should have a large visible heading. It will be either
handwritten neatly or typed.
Included parts:
Name, Date and Period (Top of Front)
Title of Lab
Pre-Lab Discussion
Data (Form attached from this packet)
Experimental Sources of Error

How do earthworms respond to touch, odor, light and sound.

Pre-Lab Discussion
Read the entire investigation. Then, describe following in your lab
1. Identify the safety precautions needed for this investigation.
2. Describe the type of symmetry and cephalization of the earthworm.
3. The independent and dependent variables in this experiment.
4. The constants
5. How will you be able to tell if the earthworm can sense each

Earthworm Pipette Paper Towels
Dissecting Pan Small Cup or Water
Acetone Beaker
Q-Tip Flashlight

Use caution when working with live animals. Do not do anything that
will intentionally harm the animal. Be careful when working with
chemicals like acetone. Wear gloves and wash hands after thoroughly
when you have finished the lab.
Write a statement that predicts which kinds of stimuli an earthworm
can sense. (Light? Odor? Sound? Taste? Touch?)

(Part 1 Earthworm Anatomy):
1. Place the earthworm on a moist paper towel in a dissecting pan.
Observe the worm as it moves. The leading end is the
anterior end, the opposite is the posterior end. Roll the worm
over and observe what happens. The side that the worm prefers
UP is the dorsal side. The side it prefers down is the ventral side.
Identify the dorsal/ventral/anterior/posterior sides of your
2. Locate the thickening of the earthworm's body at about
segment 30. (Segments are numbered 1 to 30, one being the
first segment on the head. This swelling is called the CLITELLUM
3. Observe the Earthworm for five minutes. Describe how the
worm moves. Write your observations on your data sheet.
4. Earthworms Sizes--Use a ruler to measure the length of your
worm in centimeters. Worms are divided into segments. Count
the number of segments on your worm (hint you may want to
count a small portion of the worm and multiply). Compare your
worm to three other worms in the room
(Part 2 Earthworm Behavior):
Response to Touch (stimulation)
1. Place a dry paper town on one side of the pan and a moist paper
towel on the other.
2. Stretch the worm so that it lies with its head on the dry paper
3. Observe the worm for 30-60 sec and record the earthworm's
response on your data sheet. Which direction does it move?
4. Conduct 3 more trials.
5. Stretch the worm so that it lies with its head on the moist paper
6. Observe the worm for 30-60 sec and record the earthworm's
response. Which direction does it move?
7. Conduct 3 more trials.
8. Remove the dry paper towel from the pan and let the worm just
move around for a while.
9. Use a pipette to drop a water droplet on its anterior end. Record
its reactions. Drop water on its posterior end and record its
reactions on your data sheet.
Response to Odor
1. Obtain a Q-tip dipped in acetone (fingernail polish remover.
2. Wave the Q-tip near the worm's posterior end.
3. Record the worms reaction on the data sheet.
4. Then repeat this process at the anterior end.
**Important - Do not touch the worm with the q-tip,
its toxic.

Response to Light
For this part of the experiment, you will be given a flashlight and
the room will be darkened. Discuss with your group and develop
how you will test the worms response to light.
Describe your experiment.

Response to sound
Design your own experiment to test the worms ability to
respond to sound. Think of the materials you may need and how
you will use them. Write down the steps you will follow before
performing the experiment.
Describe your experiment.
Observation of how the worm moves:

Measuring the earthworm

Your Worm Worm 2 Worm 3 Worm 4
Length (cm)
Number of

Longer worms have ________________ segments. (more, or less, or the


Response to Touch
Head starts on Response (moves toward wet or dry)
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4
Head starts on
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4

Response to water drop on anterior end


Response to water drop on posterior end


Response to Odor
Ammonia anterior _________________________________

Ammonia posterior _________________________________

Response to Light
Collect data and construct data table.
Response to Sound
Collect data and construct data table.

Analysis and Conclusion

Make a simple statement that reflects the purpose of this lab.
For each test (touch, odor, light and sound), identify any
conclusions you can draw from the data collected. Use actual
data to site evidence for your conclusions.

Discussion of Theory
Describe the type of animal behavior at work in this experiment.
Justify your description with reasoning.
Explain in your own word what you have learned about
earthworm behavior.

Experimental Sources of Error

Describe any specific sources of error, and how do they influence
the data. Instrumental error and human error exist in all
experiments and SHOULD NOT be mentioned as a source of error
UNLESS they cause a significant fault.