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THE MENAGERIE AT THE PORCH
EARTHWORMS

GREAT WORKERS

If worms had not invaded the earth, the archaeologists would not be enough. Don't be surprised - this is true, because not all objects and buildings zaboronyayut water and wind loads. Many ancient ruins, amphorae for wine or military armor, thrown on the field of battle, buried worms. It is thanks to them a stone at the gate, slowly grows in the ground. It happens so slowly, as inexorably.

Settling under the boulder, tiny diggers are laid in the soil of new drifts and adits. Swallowing the earth, a mini-miners emerge on the surface in order to empty the stomach, they do it side by side with the stone. Gradually, the soil excavated from under the stone, wraps his side and drifts and adits, proceda omit the stone below. Then the boulder will disappear from the ravages of the elements - wind, rain, frost and sun. So a simple way under the coprolites worms and were saved priceless works of ancient art.

But even bestensee themselves coprolites - prose emissions from the gut of the worm. Why priceless? And here's why.

Involving in mink grass, the owner wets it with liquid, in which, probably, there are enzymes; under its influence the chlorophyll quickly darkens, and the grass becomes soft. Now she can eat. But not a single blade of grass be alive-he swallows the ground with all its microflora and microfauna. I mean the worm near lunch.

With this dinner in a long and narrow abdomen wonderful things happen. The main one is the transformation of plant tissues in the basis of fertility, humic complex. But this process does not stop there: lime gland neutralize acid soil, and the pH of the coprolites shifts favorable for plant side. Emissions from the intestine of the worm dainty plants because carbon-rich, calcium, magnesium, nitrate and phosphoric acid.

Without knowing it, our heroes do care about the prosperity of soil bacteria, which multiply rapidly during slow digestion worms, stretching a day or two. In their bellies on bacteria descends grace: they have plenty of food, lots of organics, translated in easily digestible form. Moreover, giving live beneficial microbes, worms decompose substances that could inhibit the growth of grasses and trees.

I need to praise earthworm and because of the spores, committed a journey through his stomach, growing luxury mycelium. So the worm gives us the orange-cap boletus and chanterelles.

Ode to the digestive tract of the worm can be continued indefinitely. However, the benefactor strong> not only the stomach. Its underground mine - a veritable Paradise for the young rootlets, which, making its way deep into certainly use the services of worms. Our heroes know earthworks: on average under a square meter of the earth's solid they lay kilometer workings and produce a mountain (again on average) 3 mm coprolites for the year. Acting is simple and easy, these mini-miners a hundred or two hundred years "turn inside out" top meter of land.

The average per hectare manicured pastures struggling about 10 million of diggers (extreme values from 1 to 200 million). On arable land, which now and then plows plow, worms several times less. However, quantitative indicators sin against the truth: worms of the same species small and the other big. In the fields of biomass worms more modest than in the meadow. And sorry - horizontal and vertical moves mink intertwined here is not so thick, and the ground harder to breathe, harder to drink water.

By the way, the underground masters of fertility and hate themselves drought. At +23° they hide, and the heat harder for them fatal. Than continental climate, the more pronounced their summer and winter sleep - crouching in the extended ends of the mink and curled into a spiral or body stringing the real site, great workers fall into unconsciousness. Previously the entrance to the bedroom is closed up, and the walls are sealed inside the slime, to raging at the top of the hot winds dried out the body. But all this does not guarantee that sleep will Wake up from suspended animation. If the moisture content in the soil for a long time will be less than 30%, the most common in the fields gray worms (grey allolobophora) die without regaining consciousness. For example, after a dry summer, 1956 arable land and meadows Hungary became lost more than half of the tiny diggers. This loss is felt for a long time: the rate of natural dispersal of earthworms just meter per year.

However, in the civilized world they don't always travel independently. In 1958, near the village of Kostino Moscow region of the garbage heap, covered sorrel horse, drew a strange worm. Fifteen years later established his exact ancestry is native Italy, Switzerland, England. In the suburbs it probably came in a flower pot or planting material. The new Russian land relished - by 1973, he had already settled on the whole hectare.

Somehow Kozma Prutkov said: "Three things, once started, is difficult to come to: a) eat good food; b) to talk with returning from a trip a friend and b) to scratch where it itches". If Kozma was alive, I would have begged him to add to the list another item: d) to write, if you write".

ODA already exceeds all conceivable volume, and so much more I want to say. And the fact that in Africa from coprolites local worms make great pipes, and the fact that under the Mariupol inhabits thick and surprisingly strong worm moves which pierce the ground on eight-meter depth. But, remembering another Covenant prutkov ("Nobody will embrace the immense"), at the end I will state only one that struck me was the fact. Being in a pleasant school age, I read about the giant of Australian worm resembling a terrible six-foot snake. As a student, heard that such Gullivers live in South America. And about the fact that Europe is not "pumped up", learned only seeding for this essay: in 1972 in Paris he published a monograph M Boucher "earthworms France. Ecology and systematics". Now, Bush has managed to catch the European supersurvey rise more than a meter!

Well. A great ship asks deep waters.

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