The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms: With Observations on Their Habits

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D. Appleton, 1897 - Soils - 326 pages
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Page 308 - ... are before long all buried beneath the accumulated castings of worms, and are thus brought in a more or less decayed state within reach of the roots of plants. Worms likewise drag an infinite number of dead leaves and other parts of plants into their burrows, partly for the sake of plugging them up and partly as food. The leaves which are dragged into the burrows as food, after being torn into the finest shreds, partially digested, and saturated with the intestinal and urinary secretions, are...
Page 311 - The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man's inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be ploughed, by earthworms. 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.
Page 311 - When we behold a wide, turf-covered expanse, we should remember that its smoothness, on which so much of its beauty depends, is mainly due to all the inequalities having been slowly leveled by worms.
Page 120 - Earth-worms are found in all parts of the world, and some of the genera have an enormous range.* They inhabit the most isolated islands ; they * Perrier,
Page 303 - On each acre of land, he says, "in many parts of England, a weight of more than ten tons of dry earth annually passes through their bodies and is brought to the surface.
Page 303 - They have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose.
Page 308 - ... they can swallow are left in it. They mingle the whole intimately together, like a gardener who prepares fine soil for his choicest plants. In this state it is well fitted to retain moisture and to absorb all soluble substances, as well as for the process of nitrification.
Page 32 - ... several facts indicate that worms possess some power of smell, and that they discover by this means odoriferous and much-coveted kinds of food. It may be presumed that all animals which feed on various substances possess the sense of taste, and this is certainly the case with worms. Cabbage leaves are much liked by worms, and it appears that they can distinguish between different varieties ; but this may, perhaps, be owing to differences in their texture. On eleven occasions pieces of the fresh...
Page 6 - Here we have an instance of that inability to sum up the effects of a continually recurrent cause, which has often retarded the progress of science, as formerly in the case of geology, and more recently in that of the principle of evolution.
Page 267 - This amount is small ; but we should bear in mind how many branching valleys intersect most countries, the whole length of which must be very great ; and that earth is steadily travelling down both turf-covered sides of each valley. For every 100 yards in length in a valley with sides sloping as in the foregoing cases, 480 cubic inches of damp earth, weighing above 23 Ibs., will annually reach the bottom.

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