Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Earthworm diversity at Nilgiri biosphere reserve, Western Ghats, India.

Abstract

Species diversity of earthworms in tropics is less studied compared to those of the temperate regions. Despite the fact that there have been numerous studies on earthworm diversity in the Western Ghats of India, there still exists scope for more earthworm species which are yet to be described. The present work involves a survey of earthworms in the Nilgiri biosphere reserve (NBR) - a part of a biodiversity hot spot of Western Ghats. Despite being a part of the biodiversity hot spot, studies on earthworm diversity at NBR are very limited. Unless an authentic record of earthworm species is made available, the consequence of human interference, habitat alteration or climate change on the species diversity cannot be assessed. An attempt has been made in this study to conduct a survey of earthworm species available in the selected forest ecosystems of the NBR. The findings of this study have shown that 84.67% of the earthworm species identified is native, while the rest are exotic. On the basis of total number of earthworms collected, exotics accounted for 1.55%, indicating the predominance of native species in the study area and indicating that this habitat is less disturbed. Among the species identified from Mukurthi, Priodochaeta pellucida is listed as vulnerable and has never been encountered since its discovery about 100 years ago. Shannon-Weiner indices showed that evergreen forests of Silent Valley have a high species diversity as do shola/grasslands of Mukurthi and moist deciduous forests of Muthanga.