Current knowledge of earthworm richness and distribution in Santa Fe province, Argentina.
Updated list of earthworms (Oligochaeta: Lumbricina) from Santa Fe (Argentina) is presented in this work, including current data of species richness and territorial distribution status and information collected by Ljungström and collaborators 40 years ago. Field samplings were conducted between 2012 and 2015 at 23 sites, located in 11 of the 19 districts of the province. Earthworms were collected following a standard methodology. The conservation of specimens was done with 4% formalin solution and their identification was performed according to taxonomy keys. Richness, similarity and complementarity of species between the phytogeographic provinces were analyzed. A total of 15 earthworm species were identified and grouped into ten genera and five families: Acanthodrilidae (Dichogaster bolaui, Microscolex dubius), Glossoscolecidae (Glossodrilus parecis), Lumbricidae (Aporrectodea caliginosa, Aporrectodea rosea, Aporrectodea trapezoides, Bimastos parvus, Eisenia fetida, Octolasion tyrtaeum), Megascolecidae (Amynthas gracilis, Amynthas morrisi, Metaphire californica), Ocnerodrilidae (Eukerria saltensis, Eukerria rosae, Eukerria stagnalis). From all the species found five, G. parecis, E. saltensis, E. rosea, E. stagnalis and M. dubius, are native to South America, and the rest were introduced from Asia and Europe. The Espinal presented the greatest richness of earthworms (12), while the Pampeana showed high values of complementarity (greater than 70%) with the Chaco Húmedo and Valle de Inundación del Río Paraná. Endogeic species were present in all environments surveyed. In particular, the exotic species A. trapezoides and A. morrisi showed a wide geographical distribution, having been found at 70 and 50%, respectively, of the total number of the studied sites. One species, E. rosea, which is in the list, was not recorded in the sampling of 40 years ago. The results of current survey show that the number of species was lower compared to study by Ljungström and collaborators (60% of the 23 species registered). Possibly the remarkable change in the richness and distribution of earthworms could be a process associated with changes in soil use and land management developed over 40 years.