In everyday language, the term worm is also applied to various other living forms such as larvae, insects, centipedes, shipworms (teredo worms), or even some vertebrates (creatures with a backbone) such as blindworms and caecilians. Worms can be divided into several groups, but are still technically decomposers.
* The first of these includes the flatworms. This phylum is called Platyhelminthes. They have a flat, ribbon- or leaf-shaped body with a pair of eyes at the front. Some are parasites.
* The second group contains the threadworms, roundworms, and hookworms. This phylum is called Nematoda. Threadworms may be microscopic, such as the vinegar eelworm, or more than 1 meter (3 feet) long. They are found in damp earth, moss, decaying substances, fresh water, or salt water. Some roundworms are also parasites. The Guinea worm, for example, gets under the skin of the feet and legs of people living in tropical countries.
* The third group consists of the segmented worms, with bodies divided into segments, or rings. This phylum is called Annelida. Among these are the earthworms and the bristle worms of the sea.
In earlier taxonomic classification, all the above were included in the now obsolete group Vermes.
There are hundreds of thousands of species that live in a wide variety of habitats other than soil. Over time this broad definition narrowed to the modern definition, although this still includes several different animal groups. Phyla that include worms include:
* Annelida (segmented worms)
* Chaetognatha (arrow worms)
* Gnathostomulid (jaw worms)
* Hemichordata (acorn/tongue worms)
* Nematoda (roundworms)
* Nematomorpha (horsehair worms)
* Nemertea (ribbonworms)
* Onychophora (velvet worms)
* Phoronida (horseshoe worms)
* Platyhelminthes (flatworms)
* Priapulida (phallus worms)
* Sipuncula (peanut worms)
There are more than 4,400 different types of worms, and 2,700 different types or earthworm alone. The term worm is used to describe many different distantly-related animals which have a long cylindrical body and no legs. Phyla that contain worms include:
Annelida (segmented worms)
Chaetognatha (arrow worms)
Gnathostomulid (jaw worms)
Hemichordata (acorn/tongue worms)
Nematomorpha (horsehair worms)
Onychophora (velvet worms)
Phoronida (horseshoe worms)
Priapulida (phallus worms)
Sipuncula (peanut worms)
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