[Letters to Editor]


I THINK Sir Ray Lankester (NATURE, June 2, p. 424) will agree with me that earthworms when underground must frequently or usually be in contact with other moist surfaces. My impression is that in dry weather, when the upper layers of soil contain only adsorbed water and are what we call “dry”, earthworms seek the lower layers where the particles are moist—that is, are surrounded by a surface film of liquid water, however thin this may be. When in such a moist layer the surface of the worm must at many points be obtaining its air-supply through the medium of water which is not part of itself. The air, as Sir Ray Lankester says, reaches the worm through the porous soil, and I think in part through the moisture on the surface of the particles. The statement in my letter in NATURE of May 19 can admittedly be read as implying that the worm was partly dipped in slime or mud, but this was far from my meaning.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

COSTE, J. [Letters to Editor]. Nature 107, 491 (1921). https://doi.org/10.1038/107491a0

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.