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The Lumbricidae are a family of earthworms. About 33 lumbricid species have become naturalized around the world, but the bulk of the species are in the Holarctic region: from Canada (e.g. Bimastos lawrenceae on Vancouver Island) and the United States (e.g. Eisenoides carolinensis, Eisenoides lonnbergi and most Bimastos spp.) and throughout Eurasia to Japan (e.g. Eisenia japonica, E. koreana and Helodrilus hachiojii). An enigmatic species in Tasmania is Eophila eti. Currently, 670 valid species and subspecies in about 42 genera are recognized. This family includes the majority of earthworm species well-known to Europeans.
|Lumbricus terrestris, the common European earthworm|
The family consists of the following genera:
The worms in the Lumbricidae family originate from Europe, but over time members of the family have since been introduced and spread around the globe.
Members of the Lumbricidae family are native to Europe and are most diverse in southern Europe. There are 30 species from the family in Ireland and Britain. Notably, a single mature individual of the species Prosellodrilus amplisetosus was found in a survey of soil biodiversity in Ireland. P. amplisetosis had never been recorded in Ireland before and is commonly found in France or Spain. It is thought to have been introduced by humans through agricultural supplies. Another interesting case is of the species Dendrobaena attemsi in Scandinavia. They were first found in a national park in Sweden, the furthest north the species have been found. The discovery of D. attemsi implies the range of the species is increasing north. It is not only in Sweden that species from the Lumbricidae family are expanding their range. Many of the species found in Finland are exhibiting similar increases in range and Lumbricidae worms are also expanding into Northeastern Europe, starting from the near Baltic sea
Worms from the Lumbricidae family make up the majority of earthworms found in China, despite not being native to the area.
At higher elevations in India, some species of Lumbicidae can be found.
When European settlers came to North America, so did European earthworms like the Lumbricidae. Before this, the area in North America where glaciers had been mostly worm-free. Lumbricidae worms are known to be expanding into the Great Lakes Region. The introduced worms have an impact on the native species and environments. Species from the Lumbricidae family, such as Lumbricus rubelles, are believed to have displaced the local species in a number of regions. In others, Lumbricidae species outnumber the native species in terms of biomass. Despite this, they are not as productive, in terms of processing nitrogen and phosphorus, as the native species. Lumbricidae worms also tend to have a higher species richness than native North American worms, though the species richness of both the native and Lumbricidae decreases with increasing latitudes.
New Zealand and AustraliaEdit
Harvestmen, especially from the genera Leiobunum and Hadrobunus, are known to consume Lumbricidae earthworms. This happens mostly in temperate regions. Another species known to prey on Lumbricidae is the Bannan caecilian. Lumbricidae are an important part of its diet.
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|Wikispecies has information related to Lumbricidae.|
- Earthworm Society of Britain – information on British earthworms