Earthworm Species
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Zootaxa ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 5052 (3) ◽  
pp. 433-440

Earthworms are the most important soil invertebrates worldwide, in terms of biomass and effects on soil processes. In this study, 21 earthworm species, including four new records were identified from Caspian Hyrcanian Forests (North of Iran). Four species; Criodrilus lacuum, Lumbricus rubellus, Metaphire californica, and Octodrilus transpadanus and the family Criodrilidae are reported for the first time. Previous studies have identified 31 earthworm species belonging to 14 genera and three families (Lumbricidae, Acanthodrilidae, and Megascolecidae) in Iran; therefore, these new records increase the number of earthworm species to a total of 35.  

Environments ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 8 (10) ◽  
pp. 102
Sandra Ečimović ◽  
Karolina Vrandečić ◽  
Martina Kujavec ◽  
Martina Žulj ◽  
Jasenka Ćosić ◽  

The functioning of soil ecosystems greatly depends on the interactions occurring between soil biota communities. It is well known that earthworms are an important soil component that substantially affects its function, including their meaningful impact on the development of different phytopathogenic soil fungi. Phytopathogenic fungi are responsible for crop disease and cause great economic damage. It has previously been established that earthworms’ coelomic fluid can suppress the growth of phytopathogenic fungi, but the exact molecular mechanism is unknown. The present study aimed at broadening the proof of this observed phenomenon by investigating the effects of the coelomic fluid extract of three different earthworm species (Eisenia andrei, Dendrobaena veneta and Allolobophora chlorotica) on the growth of six different phytopathogenic fungi species (Berkeleyomyces basicola, Fusarium culmorum, Globisporangium irregulare, Rhizoctonia solani, Macrophomina phaseolina, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum). Coelomic fluid extract was obtained by electrostimulation or usage of extraction buffer (only in case of A. chlorotica) and prepared in three different concentrations by diluting the obtained coelomic fluid with physiological saline. The coelomic fluid extract of the three investigated earthworm species had an inhibitory effect on the growth of all six phytopathogenic fungi species. The greatest inhibitory effect was achieved with the E. andrei coelomic fluid extract reducing the growth of R. solani fungi. The findings of this research confirm the antifungal activity of coelomic fluid obtained from earthworm species belonging to different ecological categories and may be of potential use in crop protection against phytopathogenic fungi.

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (11) ◽  
pp. 19566-19579
Azhar Rashid Lone ◽  
Samrendra Singh Thakur ◽  
Nalini Tiwari ◽  
Olusola B. Sokefun ◽  
Shweta Yadav

Taxonomic classification of earthworms based on anatomical features has created several challenges for systematics and population genetics. This study examines the application of molecular markers, in particular mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI), to facilitate discrimination of closely related earthworm species. Molecular markers have also provided insights into population genetics by aiding assessment of genetic diversity, lineage sorting, and genealogical distributions of populations for several species. Phylogeography—a study that evaluates the geographical distribution of these genealogical lineages and the role of historical processes in shaping their distribution—has also provided insights into ecology and biodiversity. Such studies are also essential to understand the distribution patterns of invasive earthworm species that have been introduced in non-native ecosystems globally. The negative consequences of these invasions on native species include competition for food resources and altered ecosystems. We anticipate that molecular markers such as COI and DNA barcoding offer potential solutions to disentangling taxonomic impediments in earthworms and advancing their systematics and population genetics. 

PLoS ONE ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 16 (9) ◽  
pp. e0255674
Saiqa Andleeb ◽  
Wajid Arshad Abbasi ◽  
Rozina Ghulam Mustafa ◽  
Ghafoor ul Islam ◽  
Anum Naseer ◽  

Earthworms (Crassiclitellata) being ecosystem engineers significantly affect the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil by recycling organic material, increasing nutrient availability, and improving soil structure. The efficiency of earthworms in ecology varies along with species. Therefore, the role of taxonomy in earthworm study is significant. The taxonomy of earthworms cannot reliably be established through morphological characteristics because the small and simple body plan of the earthworm does not have anatomical complex and highly specialized structures. Recently, molecular techniques have been adopted to accurately classify the earthworm species but these techniques are time-consuming and costly. To combat this issue, in this study, we propose a machine learning-based earthworm species identification model that uses digital images of earthworms. We performed a stringent performance evaluation not only through 10-fold cross-validation and on an external validation dataset but also in real settings by involving an experienced taxonomist. In all the evaluation settings, our proposed model has given state-of-the-art performance and justified its use to aid earthworm taxonomy studies. We made this model openly accessible through a cloud-based webserver and python code available at and

Agriculture ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (9) ◽  
pp. 876
Randy Carlie Pierre-Louis ◽  
Md. Abdul Kader ◽  
Nandakumar M. Desai ◽  
Eleanor H. John

Incorporation of vermin culture in the composting system produces “vermicompost”, an enriched biofertilizer known to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It is applied in granular form and/or in liquid solution (vermiwash), and in both open fields and greenhouses. Vermicompost has been shown to contain plant growth hormones, which stimulate seed germination and improve crop yield, the ‘marketability’ of products, plant physiology, and their ability to fight against disease. In recent years, South Pacific island countries (SPICs) have placed an increasing emphasis on the importance of organic agricultural practices as a means of achieving more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. However, vermiculture is not practiced in South Pacific island countries (SPICs) largely due to the lack of awareness of this type of application. We consider the inclusion of vermiculture in this region as a potential means of achieving sustainable organic agricultural practices. This study represents a systematic review in which we collect relevant information on vermicomposting and analyze the applicability of this practice in the SPICs based on these nations’ physical, socioeconomic, and climatic conditions. The tropical climate of the SPICs means that they meet the combined requirements of a large available biomass for composting and the availability of earthworms. Perionyx excavatus and Pontoscolex corethrurus have been identified as potential native earthworm species for vermicomposting under the conditions of the SPICs. Eisenia fetida, a well-known earthworm species, is also effectively adapted to this region and reported to be an efficient species for commercial vermicomposting. However, as a new input into the local production system, there may be unforeseen barriers in the initial stages, as with other advanced technologies, and the introduction of vermiculture as a practice requires a steady effort and adaptive research to achieve success. Further experimental research is required to analyze the productivity and profitability of using the identified native earthworm species for vermiculture using locally available biomass in the SPICs.

PeerJ ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
pp. e12148
Eileen M.S. Reed ◽  
Mariel O. O’Connor ◽  
Ione C. Johnson ◽  
Wayne L. Silver ◽  
Cecil J. Saunders

Earthworms shape the biological and physicochemical qualities of the soil they choose to reside in, but our understanding of the specific chemicals that attract or repel a particular species of earthworm remains incomplete. Current research indicates that some species feed on and are attracted to fungi, such as Geotrichum candidum. In the present study, as part of our continuing effort to characterize mechanisms of earthworm chemosensation, we tested whether ethyl hexanoate and ethyl pentanoate, two compounds produced by G. candidum, are appetitive to the European nightcrawler (Dendrobaena veneta). In a soil T-maze, both of these compounds significantly repelled individual earthworms in a dosage-dependent manner, this result ran counter to our initial hypothesis. D. veneta also avoided ethyl hexanoate and ethyl pentanoate in an assay we specifically developed to test an earthworms aversion to chemical stimuli in soil. In both of these assays, ethyl hexanoate was aversive at lower concentrations than ethyl pentanoate. These findings further clarify our understanding of the chemical cues that trigger the decision of D. veneta to select a particular soil-environment, and emphasize that different earthworm species may react very differently to commonly encountered chemical stimuli.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 16 (9) ◽  
pp. e0255978
Daniel F. Marchán ◽  
Sergio Jiménez ◽  
Thibaud Decaëns ◽  
Jorge Domínguez

The Massif Central in France could potentially harbor numerous ancient endemic lineages owing to its long history of continuous geological stability. Several endemic earthworm species inhabit the area, with Allolobophora (Gatesona) chaetophora, Helodrilus (Acystodrilus) and Avelona ligra showing hints of a common evolutionary origin. However, the phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic status of the species remain to be studied through integrative molecular and morphological methods. To this end, eight species including most of the known species and subspecies of All. (Gatesona), Helodrilus (Acystodrilus) musicus, and Avelona ligra were sequenced for a set of five molecular markers. The species were grouped on the basis of the molecular findings in a phylogenetic framework. All. (Gatesona) was included within the same clade as Helodrilus (Acystodrilus) and Avelona, separated from Allolobophora sensu stricto, supporting its status as a good genus. Branch lengths and average pairwise genetic distances suggested the subspecies of All. (Gatesona) chaetophora examined should be considered species-level taxa. Thus, a generic diagnosis for Gatesona stat. nov. is provided, along with redescriptions of Gatesona chaetophora comb. nov., Gatesona rutena comb. nov. stat. nov., Gatesona lablacherensis comb. nov. stat. nov. and Gatesona serninensis comb. nov. stat. nov. The study findings highlight the need for further sampling of earthworm diversity in the Massif Central (and Southern France), in addition to an increased focus on the Eastern European species of Helodrilus.

2021 ◽  
Vol 62 (2) ◽  
pp. 411-425
Thembeka C. Nxele ◽  
Tarombera Mwabvu ◽  
Inam Yekwayo

Little is known about the species composition of earthworms in agroecosystems in South Africa even though earthworms provide soil ecosystem services and are useful biological indicators of changes in the habitats. Given the land use and management impact biodiversity, the aim of this study was to document earthworm species that occur under cultivated land in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. A survey of nine farms that practise conservation agriculture was carried out between 2018 and 2020. Twelve earthworm species belonging to four introduced families: Acanthodrilidae (Dichogaster bolaui), Rhinodrilidae (Pontoscolex corenthrurus), Lumbricidae (Aporrectodea caliginosa, Aporrectodea rosea, Aporrectodea trapezoides, Lumbricus rubellus, Octolasion cyaneum, Octolasion lacteum), Megascolecidae (Amynthas aeruginosus, Amynthas corticis, Amynthas gracilis, Amynthas rodericensis) and juveniles from an indigenous family Tritogeniidae were recorded from cultivated fields. The type of crop (habitat) affected both species richness and abundance of earthworms significantly. However, post hoc results showed differences in species richness between the soya and the maize only, with greater species richness in the maize. Our results demonstrate that habitat type has a major influence on communities of earthworms in agroecosystems.

2021 ◽  
pp. 118041
Muhammad Adeel ◽  
Noman Shakoor ◽  
Muhammad Shafiq ◽  
Anna Pavlicek ◽  
Florian Part ◽  

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