The analysis presents earthworm distribution in eight designated tectonic units (C—Cyprus, EP—East Pondites, ET—East Taurus block, Sc—Sakarya continent, Kb—Kırşehir block, L—the Levant, TM—Taurus–Menderes block, WP—West Pondites) in the East Mediterranean region (EM). It represents a full list of earthworm species (N = 81) of the region and reveals significant faunal similarities between Sc + WP, and between Kb + TM. The new Sc + WP unit is characterized by the presence of archaic (Spermophorodrilus) as well as modern earthworm fauna. In contrast, the second newly established Kb + TM unit is characterized by poorly presented earthworm autochthonous fauna and by a lack of endemic species. The analysis done on the species list (N = 73) representing the autochthonous family Lumbricidae showed statistically supported separation of L and EP between themselves and from other designated units. The Levant, part of the Arabian tectonic plate, is characterized by a high level of endemism in ancient (Healyella) and modern (Dendrobaena, Perelia) genera, and by the lack of archaic genera. The EP harbors unique species representing archaic (Eophila), ancient (Healyella), and modern (Allolobophora, Aporrectodea,Dendrobaena and Eisenia) earthworm genera in the EM. The analysis also indicates origin of earthworm fauna in TM and faunistic relationships among the designated units. Clearly, the present-day division of the EM earthworm fauna shows recognizable influences of tectonic history.
Earthworms Lumbricidae East Mediterranean Regression Endemism Levant