An Overview of Earthworm Biodiversity in Afghanistan with New Records for the Country (Clitellata: Megadrili)

Document Type : Research articles

Authors

1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Womens’ University of Semnan (Farzanegan), Semnan, Iran

3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, Alberoni University, Kapisa, Afghanistan

4 Department of Zoology, Eszterházy Károly University, Eger, Hungary

Abstract

In this paper a batch of earthworms from Afghanistan was studied and previous reports on the earthworm fauna of the country were evaluated. In the present study, earthworms were collected by digging and hand sorting, and fixed in 80% ethanol. Six species belonging to three families were identified. They are Aporrectodea caliginosa, Ap. rosea, Eiseniella tetraedra, Drawida annandalei, Amynthas corticis, and Metaphire bahli. Among them A. corticis, Ap. caliginosa, D. annandalei, and M. bahli are new records for the country. Nine species have previously been reported from Afghanistan of which two were collected in the current survey as well. Therefore, this study in Afghanistan increased the number of earthworm species registered for the country from 9 to 13 belonging to nine genera and three families. Out of the 13 species, 10 (Ap. caliginosa, Ap. jassyensis, Ap. trapezoides, Ap. rosea, Bimastus parvus, Dendrobaena byblica, D. fedtschenkoi, Eisenia fetida, Eis. tetraedra, and Lumbricus rubellus) belong to the Holarctic family Lumbricidae, two species (M. bahli and A. corticis) to the family Megascolecidae, and one species (D. annandalei) to Moniligastridae. Most of the species (10) are peregrine and only three of the lumbricid species in Afghanistan are regarded as autochthonous, viz., Ap. jassyensis, D. byblica, and D. fedtschenkoi. The diversity and distribution of earthworms in Afghanistan is far from complete. To fill this gap in our knowledge on the earthworm fauna of the studied region more detailed investigations are needed to explore the earthworm fauna of this vast country.

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