How Long Does a Worm Live? [Life Span Table]

What comes first to your mind when you read the term Worm? Earthworm!

The reason is that many people are familiar with this worm. It’s not the only worm in the world. In simple words, worms are invertebrates, thin and long in size. In total there are 12 phyla of worms n th world. The largest collection of worm specimens 427,000 is found in the National Museum Of Natural History, Smithsonian.

How long does a worm live? Depending on the species, worms can live as short as a few days and as long as 4 to 8 years. Nematodes have the shortest life span of 20 days to 2 years. Earthworms can live longer than 4 years to 8 years. Flatworms live even shorter upto 120 days. Interestingly, few worms are immortal.

The life of a worm is spent mostly in completing its life cycle. The life cycle includes eggs, larval, and adult stages. However, more research is needed to figure out the exact figure on the life span of different species of worms.

3 Main Factors Affecting The Life Span Of Worms

There are a number of factors that play a vital role in determining the life span of worms. Some worms are even immortal. Below are some important factors to consider:

#1- Predator

Worms are spread all over the world. They dont have a well-developed defense system against predators. Some worms are toxic such as hammerhead worms. Such worms have a tendency to thrive well as no predators try to attack them. However, many species of worms cant resist predators due to their small size. Below is the list of common predators of worms:

  • Carnivore Predators including weasels, otters, mink, and frogs
  • Reptile Predators including all types of lizards and snakes
  • Amphibian predators include turtles and toads.

#2- Temperature

Unfortunately, worms can survive in extreme cold and extreme heat. They would die if the temperature goes above 50 degrees Celcius. Extreme heat will snatch moisture from the environment. Similarly extremely cold will also kill them.

#3- Surrounding

If worms are invading an area surrounded by the human population, they will surely try to eradicate them. Some worms are parasitic and there is a high need to get rid of them The hammerhead worms are toxic. If they are living in the forest, they are likely to live longer.

How Long Can a Worm Live Cut in Half

Worms reproduce both sexually and asexually. They have a tendency to regenerate from cut fragments. F you chop, cut, or crush a worm with a shovel, it is likely to regenerate into two. It happens in almost all species of hammerhead worms and some species of earthworms.

How long can a worm live cut in half? Many worms can regenerate if cut in half within 2 to 3 weeks. If you cut a worm into two fragments, the head worm will develop a tail and other organs. The tail worm will die. This new worm will live 4 to 8 years. 

worm lifespan

How Long Can a Worm Live Without Food

Almost all types of worms eat organic matter.t contains dead plants, herbs, shrubs, leftover food, microbes, vegetables, and fruits. Worms dwelling in the forest will actively consume decaying woods, plants, and leaves. Some worms even eat soil. 

How long can a worm live without food? They can go without food for as long as 4 weeks. They are not picky eaters and can live on almost everything they found. Anything can become food such as plants, dead animals, leaves, and even other worms. They dont have to fight for food as big animals do. 

It is scarce to a lack of food for worms. However, they have to face difficulty to survive in lack of humidity. With the increasing temperature of the earth, there is a big threat to the life of beneficial worms.

How Long Can a Worm Live Underwater

Aquatic forms mostly live in sediments or layers of debris in the ponds or tape water? The name of worms found in tap water is midge larvae, flatworms, roundworms (otherwise known as nematodes), and rotifers. They’re quite adaptive. The aquatic worm such as Limnodrillis Hoffmeister is reddish-brown in color and beneficial for the marine ecosystem.

Worms generally live on oxygen. How long they would survive in water depends on the presence of oxygen in water reserves. 

How can a worm live underwater? The survival duration of multiple worms in water varies considerably. On average a worm can live underwater for several days to two weeks. Most earthworm species have the tendency to survive up to 2 weeks in the pond, lakes and muddy puddles. 

How Long Can a Worm Live in Your Body

There are many types of worms living in the human body. Some are parasitic such as tapeworms, flukes, hookworms, pinworms, and trichinella. They are mainly invisible to the naked eye and can cause serious infections.

How long can a worm live in the human body? Depending on the type of worm it can live as short as 7 years and long as 30 years in the human body. Tapeworms can live upto 30 years in intestine walls. Other parasitic worms can live upto 7 years in the human body.

If a person has a strong immunity system, he can get rid of worms on his own. For weak immunity medication and antiseptics are recommended to kill worms. 

How Long Does an Earthworm Live

Earthworms are terrestrial invertebrates that belong to the family Annelida. They can live globally in the soil in tropical and subtropical regions. They are divided into 23 families, 700 genres, and more than 7000 species. 

How long does an earthworm live? Depending on the species, earthworms can live as short as 4 years and long as 8 years. The life span of this worm generally depends on the availability of food, enough moisture, and lack of predators. Lumricus Terrestris has the shortest life span of 6 years. 

Species Of EarthwormLife Span Images
Common Earthworm4 to 8 years
Eisenia Fetida1-5 years
Eudrillus Eugenia1-3 years
Asian Jumping WormOne season
Lumbricus Rubilleaus7 to 10 years
Giant Gippsland earthwormFew months in the natural environment10 years 
Allolobophora chlorotica,1 to 3 years

How Long Can a Worm Live Without Air

Can worms survive without air? No, they would die as they need air to breathe. They dont have specialized breathing organs such as lungs However, they breathe oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide through the skin. 

Many questions can pop up in your mind from the above statement. If they can live without air, how are they surviving in our gut, underwater, and under mud. They have the tendency to hold breathe for a long time to live in water, mud, and inside the human body. 

How long can a worm hold its breath? Normally a worm can hold its breath for up to 4 weeks. For example, earthworms live underwater holding their breaths for as long as 4 weeks. 

How long can a worm live without air? Overall a worm would die after 4 weeks without air or oxygen. However, the time may vary within species. Earthworms and their species can survive up to 4 weeks without air.

How Long Can a Worm Live in Water

You can see worms mostly after rain. If they can survive in water, why do they come out of the ground after rain? They have to come out of the wet ground in fear of drowning. Although they can hold breathe if submerged in the water yet for some time. Eventually, they have to come to the surface to get oxygen.

How long can a worm live in water? Worms can live in water for approximately two weeks. They have to rely on oxygen in the water to live underwater. They also have tendency to hold their breath for as long as 4 weeks. Some species of worms can survive in water holding breathe. 

How Many Years Does a Worm Live

The life span of a worm depends on different factors. The need for humidity can restrict its population in certain areas of the world. If conditions are favorable they can have more than their average life span. 

How many years does a worm live? Generally, a worm can live for 4 to 8 years. Several factors can increase or decrease the life span such as species of worms,  food sources, predators, habitat, humidity, and temperature. In captivity, worms can live more than expected life.

Life Span of Different Species of Worms

There are more than 3000 species of worms. Some researchers even say the number is 7000 species. The life span of each worm differs from others depending on certain factors. Some worms dont have any significant predators due to toxic mucus secreted from the skin. On the other hand, many worms have a number of predators. Below are life spans of a few species of worms

Life Span Of Nematodes

Nematodes are the most abundantly found parasitic worms across the globe. They have the shortest life span of only 20 days. For example, roundworms. Some nematodes affect humans and are classified as intestinal nematodes i.e, Ascaris lumbricoides; Trichuris trichiura (whipworm); Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus (the two human hookworms); Enterobius vermicularis (pinworm). 

Nematod Worms SpeciesLife Span
Whipworm1-3 years
Hookworms1-2 years
Pinworms4 to 8 weeks
Roundworms20 days
Enoplea3 years

Life Span Of Earthworm

Depending on the species of earthworm, its average life varies between 4 to 8 years. Check the table below to read the lifespan of different species of earthworms.

Life Span Of Flatworm

The average lifespan of different species of a flatworm is between 60 to 120 days. The longevity depends on food resources, predators, and habitat. More research is required to figure out the exact life span of each species of flatworms.

The good news is it’s possible to get rid of hammerhead worms. Click the link and know the techniques!

People Also Ask

How Long Can a Worm Live in Captivity

The expected life span of worms in captivity is more than 8 years. They can thrive well upto 10 years. During captivity, they are rarely attacked by predators. They also get enough food, moisture, and a controlled environment to thrive well.

Do Worms Actually Live if You Cut Them in Half?

Yes, many species of worms regrow if cut in half. The fragment with the head will regrow the tail to get the full body. However, the tail segment will die. This happens with some species of earthworms and almost all species of hammerhead worms.

How Long Do Earthworms Live in Containers?

If you put worms in a container filled with compost, they can live up to three weeks. To keep them alive, you should fill the container with compost. Keep the container away from direct sunlight. The size of the container should be 32 ounces for keeping 1-2 dozen of earthworms. 

Bottom Line

Interestingly some worms are even immortal. The planarian worms and some species of flatworms can grow as immortal. This is because of their ability to regenerate and regenerate to live forever. Some researchers even say that immortal worms defy aging. 

If you know something about any strange worm, dont forget to share it in the comment section below.

Lisa Marshall

Hi, This is Lisa Marshall. Lisa has been working with farmers for over thirteen years. It is his passion, hobby and profession. To facilitate other gardeners from her experience, she has decided to start this website to share her gardening experience with her plant lovers.

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