They may look simple and uncomplicated on the outside, but worms have a surprising number of attributes that help them survive. Their sensory adaptations are perfectly suited for life in dark, closed in places.
Worms rely most heavily on their sense of touch. Nerve endings cover the worm's entire body so that he can feel vibrations and different textures in his surroundings. Their sense of touch helps worms avoid predators and unsafe conditions.
Tiny sensory organs cover worms' bodies and provide their sense of taste. These organs are called chemoreceptors, and they help worms detect chemical sensations, which translate into taste reception. Worms also use these chemoreceptors to smell the air and their potential food source.
A 2008 study at the University of Michigan demonstrated that, while worms have no eyes, they are still able to sense (and avoid) the presence of light. Since sunlight is dangerous and can dry out worms' skin, this sense is especially important for their survival.
Worms have no external ears, so their sense of touch and vibration receptors compensate for their lack of hearing. Worms also have no eyes, so they cannot see their surroundings. This puts worms at a disadvantage when they are above ground and cannot feel their surroundings as well.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images