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CJ7Taz 06-29-2007 04:23 PM

Help! – I’m in trouble
So I picked the granddaughter up a day early and we went to Power Play yesterday. When she got in the car, she found a piece of yellow string, put it on her finger and was pretending it was Sherman, a worm from the episode of Polka Palace Party of Backyardigans.

Well, she tells me that the string is too long to be Sherman and that we need to cut it in half. At this point, I open my big mouth ask her if she knew there were some worms that if you cut in half, they would grow into two worms.

Now, I’m in trouble. She wants to find a worm she can cut in half and, in her words, “see it grow a new face.” I’m pretty sure it won't work with just your “garden variety” worm. I don’t remember what kind it was or where get to one. I’m also afraid she thinks it’s gonna grow a face while she watches.

thorjeep 06-29-2007 05:44 PM

I am pretty sure flatworms do, if I remember biology correctly. sometimes you can get them at bait shops.

I just looked it up, the Planarium Family of the flatworms does.Planarium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TiminMb 06-29-2007 05:51 PM

Definately not the garden variety segmented worm (annelids). Its has a front and a back end, multiple hearts, etc and cannot become two independent organisms after being dissected, even if you do see both halves crawl off. Both halfs may even die. Some worms, like tapeworms (cestodes), (were part of the grouping of flatworms called platyhelminthie (sp)) are much simpler and repetitive organisms, and each segment is capable of living independently. They can reproduced both sexually and assexually. Doubt she'd want a pet tapeworm. That's about all I can remember from invertebrate zoology, a course I took back in '83. Whatever it is, its got to be a very simple organism. Many organisms can regenerate lost parts, but that assumes enough of it survives to do so. Most organisms have bilateral symetry, but you'd need one that has no specialization at either end. Reminds of the joke about the guy that lost his entire left hand side in a car accident, don't worry, he's all right now.

Jim_Lou 06-29-2007 05:55 PM

I think that garden variety worms can grow a new end. IIRC the part with the band can regenerate the rest, but the part without the band is a goner. When severed it will thrash around attracting the predator so that the rest can escape.

I think that it's flatworms that can be cut in two and both pieces will live long and prosper, but only if you split them down the middle. Cut a flatworm brain in two and pretty soon you have two flatworm brains, for whatever that's worth. Golly, it's been a long time since I took high school biology.

Starfish can also do that trick. I've heard of clam and oyster fishermen chopping starfish into pieces because they eat bivalves. But that just makes matters worse - every piece can grow into another hungry starfish.

thorjeep 06-29-2007 06:01 PM

Brown Planaria Living Specimen

Here you go Taz, call the local High school and donate the rest.

TiminMb 06-29-2007 06:15 PM


Originally Posted by thorjeep (Post 1508708)
Brown Planaria Living Specimen

Here you go Taz, call the local High school and donate the rest.

Wow, good find. They are tiny though, it says 1/4".

Dirt Dog 06-29-2007 06:24 PM

I had to laugh. I've been in your shoes about opening my mouth and have my daughter throw a curve ball that I've had a problem answering. It's amazing how honest kids keep us.:grin:

SilentBob2 06-29-2007 09:47 PM

Wow and who says you can't learn anything from an O/T post. Not trying to get off the subject of the worm but here I am in the middle of the country and the other day I was in town riding my bike getting some( wifes gettin me healthy again) but anyway, in the middle of the street was a dead starfish. My wife told me I was crazy and it wasn't a starfish but I grew up on the west coast and I know what a starfish looks like, even a dead one.... Just thought it was kinda wierd !!!!

CJ7Taz 06-30-2007 07:42 AM

Thanks. I remembered something about a flat worm with a pointed tail but I didn’t remember if it was the only one that could do it. I was remembering something about cutting between the stripes on some kind.

That $6.99 ain’t bad Thor but then they want another $8 for shipping besides they’re too small to see, I guess they’d grow up but I wouldn’t know what to feed ‘em. If I want the one with instructions, that’s $49.99 plus the $8 shipping for 30 sets.

I never took biology or botany, I always took chemistry and physics. I probably better do what I told Rich and jyg and stick to what I know.

Yeah, Dog, my granddaughter is always asking questions I can’t answer and she’s smarter than hell too, so if I giver her a bad answer, she’ll remember it. I can read her one of those little kid’s books with only a few word on each page once and she can recite it back to me the next week, word for word, verbatim. She can’t read but she remembers the words that go with each page. I’d claim she gets that from grandpa but I think she’s got me beat.

thorjeep 06-30-2007 03:05 PM

Your welcome Taz, you and (someday) your granddaughter are Jeepers too!

Feed them that liver you don't like! I am sure if you get ahold of the local High School biology teacher they would hook you up, it won't hurt to ask.

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