Original Paper

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 475-485

First online:

Mapping of earthworm distribution for the British Isles and Eire highlights the under-recording of an ecologically important group

  • Daniel CarpenterAffiliated withSoil Biodiversity Group, Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum Email author 
  • , Emma SherlockAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, The Natural History Museum
  • , David T. JonesAffiliated withSoil Biodiversity Group, Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum
  • , Jim ChiminoidesAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, The Natural History Museum
  • , Thomas WriterAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, The Natural History Museum
  • , Roy NeilsonAffiliated withThe James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie
  • , Brian BoagAffiliated withThe James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie
  • , Aidan M. KeithAffiliated withCentre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment CentreSchool of Biology & Environmental Science, University College Dublin
  • , Paul EggletonAffiliated withSoil Biodiversity Group, Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum

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Abstract

Earthworms are important soil organisms yet we have limited knowledge on the geographical distribution of species. Using data from a variety of sources representing a total of 3,941 locality records we have produced the first distribution maps of earthworm species in the British Isles The maps highlight the paucity of knowledge on this ecologically important group. A systematic approach needs to be taken to bring earthworm species data to a level comparable with other important invertebrate groups such as nematodes and isopods. Through the recent establishment of an earthworm recording scheme, the Earthworm Society of Britain, working with the Biological Records Centre and earthworm researchers across the British Isles, aim to build comprehensive distribution information for future monitoring and research purposes.

Keywords

Distribution Earthworms Maps Recording