I remember one of my first lessons was 'nature study' and I was asked to give a lesson on the topic of earthworms. Now I grew up on a farm and was very familiar with worms. I knew exactly where to find them when I wanted to go fishing for eels. I knew how big they were and their shape and colour. But their life cycle? Zero.
Several years ago I came across the book in a secondhand bookshop and bought it. It's in quite good condition and the remains of the original paper cover have been pasted on to the hard cover, front and back. I have a lot of reference books on my bookshelf now but it's amazing how many times I refer to Leach.
Apparently there are over 1000 species of worms in Australia and about 80 of these are introduced. Very few species of worms can live in agricultural ground (the insecticides and fungicides are a problem) so if you want to find an Australian native worm you have to look in the woodlands and forests. Darwin thought worms were tremendously important so perhaps I should be paying them more attention.