Today, 31 earthworm species, 14 genera, five families (Acanthodrilidae, Criodrilidae, Lumbricidae, Ocnerodrilidae and Megascolecidae) are known to be present in the Levant. Aporrectodea caliginosa is represented by two subspecies. Out of all recorded species, 39-42% (12-13 species) have been introduced and 58-61 % (18-19 species) seem to be autochthonous. Eight to eleven autochthonous species (42-61 %) of the lumbricid genera Dendrobaena, Bimastos and Allolobophora s.l. are endemic to the Levant. The autochthonous Levantine earthworm fauna shows zoogeographic affinities with the one in Anatolia, Europe, Caucasus, Iran, and North Africa, but taxonomic status, and consequently distribution, of some of the included species need revision. Our data show that, contrary to other groups, the earthworm fauna of the Levant does not show a transitory character between the Ethiopic and the Eurasian fauna.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements. A NATO Scientific Linkage Grant (CLG 977453) provided financial support for our investigations. We are grateful to Ms Patricia Cardet (Haifa) for valuable comments on the manuscript.
- Species richness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science