The Environmentalist

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 74–86 | Cite as

Earthworm biodiversity in western arid and semiarid lands of India

  • Surindra SutharEmail author


Efforts have been made in this study to estimate the current status of earthworm biodiversity in western arid and semiarid lands of India. A total of 513 different locations (rural, urban, and sub-urban localities) covering both arid and semiarid areas were surveyed and 11 earthworm species: Perionyx sansibaricus (Perrier), Amynthas morrisi (Beddard), Metaphire posthuma (Vaillant), Lampito mauritti Kinberg, Dichogaster bolaui (Michaelsen), Octochaetona paliensis (Stephenson), Ramiella bishambari (Stephonson), Ocnerodrilus occidentalis Eisen, Malabaria sp, Allolobophora parva Eisen, and Pontoscolex corethrurus (Müller) belonging to five different families were rerecorded. A few earthworm species, e.g., L. mauritii, M. posthuma, O. occidentalis, and D. bolaui showed their presence in most of the sampling localities, while R. bishambari, Malabaria sp., A. parva, and P. corethrurus were restricted to a particular locality in arid land. Earthworm fauna of this region showed a patchy distribution pattern and the majority of the species were recorded from northern canal-irrigated and central alluvial plain belt (mid to eastern part) of the Thar Desert. Earthworm distribution and species-richness pattern were directly related to the local microclimatic factors and human activities. Thus, results suggested that human activities have been acted as important agency for invasion of earthworm communities in remote areas of western arid land of India.


Earthworm Biodiversity Oligochaeta Thar Desert Soil invertebrates Desert 



The authors thank Dr. J. M. Julka, Emeritus Scientist, Zoological Survey of India, India, for the confirmation of the identified earthworm species. Sincere thanks are also due to N. K. Soni, S. Mishra, R. P. Singh, S. K. Bhati, G. S. Bal, R. S. Suthar, and D. S. Josan for kind assistance during the field survey. Special thanks to Dr. P. Bhardwaj for her kind assistance in earthworm identification. The authors also thank Dr. Thomas Woodcock, Associate Editor, for providing critical comments and valuable suggestions that helped to improve the manuscript. I acknowledge Prof. J. K. Sharma, Doon University for assistance during the revision of the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyJ.N.V. UniversityJodhpurIndia
  2. 2.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesDoon UniversityKedarpur, DehradunIndia

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