Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Earthworms and Rain
Name: Jeffrey
Status: other
Age:  other
Location: CA
Country: N/A
Date: 9/16/2005

Do earthworms come to the surface to utilize the rain for fertilization of the eggs?

I think that earthworms surface after rain to escape saturation of the soil.

J. Elliott


The moiture found within the mucus secreted by the earthworm is used to facilitate the transfer of sperm between mating earthworms. This is the same secretion many people find when handling these animals. Rain is not a part of this process.

However, earthworms surface during a heavy or prolong rain because the transfer of oxygen between their soil environment and their blood stream is greatly reduced when their surroundings is primarily water. Water holds much less oxygen than air and earthworms rely on the air in the soil for diffusing adequate oxygen through their skin. Hence, they come to the surface to increase the oxygen uptake when rain water saturates the soil and displaces the air in the soil.

Steve Sample

Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory