They are divisible into the Haplodrili or Archiannelida, the Polychaeta containing the marine worms, the Oligochaeta or terrestrial and fresh-water annelids (see Earthworm), the Hirudinea or leeches (see Leech), and a small group of parasitic worms, the 11-Tyzostomida (q.v.).
In the development of the Acanthodrilid earthworm Octochaetus (F.
In Benhamia caecifera and at least one other earthworm there are numerous caeca, one pair to each segment.
The function of alimentation is closely associated with that of locomotion, somewhat as in the burrowing earthworm; in the excavation of its burrows the sand is passed through the body, and any nutrient matter that may adhere to it is extracted during its passage through the intestine, the exhausted sand being finally ejected through the vent at the orifice of the burrow and appearing at low tide as a worm casting.
They have till recently been very generally identified with the nephridia of Chaetopod worms, but there is good reason for considering the true nephridia (typified by the nephridia of the earthworm) as a distinct class of organs (see Lankester in vol.
During the winter earwigs lie dormant; but in the early months of the year females with their eggs may be found in the soil, frequently in deserted earthworm burrows.