A Series of Searchable Texts on Earthworm Biodiversity, Ecology and Systematics from Various Regions of the World

– 3rd Edition (2008) December, 2008

Compiled by Robert J. Blakemore1


General Editors of prior Bio-Eco COE Editions: Drs Masamichi T. Ito2, Nobuhiro Kaneko2

1C/- 2Soil Ecology Research Group, Graduate School of Environment & Info Sciences, Yokohama National Uni.

1Corresponding author: robblakemore"at-mark"bigpond.com or rob.blakemore"at-mark"gmail.com .




The importance of taxonomy is clearly recognized by the majority of scientists and without reliable taxonomy, ecological studies are irrelevant.” Dominguez, J. et al. (2005).

In response to the ‘Biodiversity Crisis and the ‘Taxonomic Impediment’, the aim of this database is to make available, online, information about ecology and taxonomy of diverse groups of megadrile earthworms, information that is currently scattered, outdated, or otherwise unavailable.  This goal complements those advocated by groups such as Barcode (BOLD), BioNet, CBD (GTI), Diversitas, Encyclopedia-of-Life (EoL), GBIF, IUCN/SSG, Tree-of-Life (ToL), Wikispecies, ZipcodeZoo, Zoobank, etc.  Presentation is a series of discrete chapters in various formats as originally prepared.  Several species checklists (partially annotated) provide an invaluable resource for young researchers needing to construct comprehensive regional faunal lists and for natural resource managers or concerned scientists wishing to research answers to simple questions as:


What is the correct and current name of this species?

How’s our regional biodiversity?

Can I add yet another new species name to this group without a full inventory?


Unfortunately, the present ‘chaotic’ state of consensus at almost each taxonomic rank is a disservice resulting in frequent discrepancies for the same data/taxa in different places depending upon an author’s preference, or age and accessibility of publications.  Two features characterize the modern information arena: 1/. Increasing availability of scientific papers online and 2/. Limited “shelf-life” of data on static websites plus the short life-expectancy of many of these sites themselves.

The current work, then, is merely a foundation or, if you wish, a springboard from which to enhance our current and common knowledge.  Data can be revised and expanded as reliable and solid information accrues.  In the meantime, any comments, contributions, or improvements on the chapters would be appreciated, and hopefully these can be incorporated in periodic (annual?) and public updates.  With concerted effort, inventories of species diversity for all regions may be imminently achievable.

Chapter Headings are cited below, but first I urge you to read the small print Disclaimer and Limited Licence Agreements both here & here.                   

RJB Yokohama, December, 2008

This Online Edition enhances the original CD publications by Blakemore (2005, 2006a,b)* which, however, still hold priority for new taxonomic names and changes in those document and merely reviewed herein.  In compliance with ICZN (1999: Article 8) for official publication, identical versions of the original CD: Blakemore (2005) June, 2005, were lodged, at least at the Institutions named below: those bolded received the 2nd Edition CD: Blakemore (2006a) in March, 2006, and those underlined received the CD Supplement to this: Blakemore (2006b) in August, 2006:-

ABRS Canberra, ACT; Museum of Natural History, London; Library of Congress, and Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC; Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington, NZ; Yokohama National University Library, Japan; Stockholm Museum of Natural History; The Australian Museum, Sydney; Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston; Hungarian Academy of Sciences Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, and in addition to South Africa & Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg; Jagiellonian University, Krakow and South Australian Museum, Adelaide. 

It is intended also to send regular updated copies to Zoological Record, BIOSIS, UK.


* Previous versions of the various Chapter headings in:

Blakemore, R.J. (2005). A Series of Searchable Texts on Earthworm Biodiversity, Ecology and Systematics from Various Regions of the World.  Eds.: N. Kaneko & M.T. Ito. COE Soil Ecology Research Group, Yokohama National University, Japan. CD-ROM. [Published 30th June, 2005 and simultaneously online at http://bio-eco.eis.ynu.ac.jp/eng/database/earthworm/].

Blakemore, R.J. (2006a). A Series of Searchable Texts on Earthworm Biodiversity, Ecology and Systematics from Various Regions of the World 2nd Edition (2006).  Eds.: N. Kaneko & M.T. Ito. COE Soil Ecology Research Group, Yokohama National University, Japan. CD-ROM. [30th March, 2006].

Blakemore, R.J. (2007). A Series of Searchable Texts on Earthworm Biodiversity, Ecology and Systematics from Various Regions of the World - 2nd Edition Supplement.  Eds.: N. Kaneko & M.T. Ito. COE Soil Ecology Research Group, Yokohama National University, Japan. CD-ROM. [Published 31st Aug, 2006 with Online Supplement updated on 28th March 2007: http://bio-eco.eis.ynu.ac.jp/eng/database/earthworm/.  Accessed on today’s date].


Current citation of the various Chapter Headings in:

Blakemore, R.J. (2008). A Series of Searchable Texts on Earthworm Biodiversity, Ecology and Systematics from Various Regions of the World – 3nd Edition. [Online at http://www.annelida.net/earthworm. Today’s date].


Regions covered shown on MAP (further all Asiatic pheretimoids, all holarctic lumbricids, all octochaetids from Indo-Australasia including “amphiatlantic” genera, plus all the neotropical exxids are also listed). 

Inspiration from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes’ “There’s Treasure Everywhere” is acknowledged here.

An answer to the question: “Why on Earth Study Worms?” is proffered - here.


Table of Contents (Chapter Headings):


1. Blakemore, R.J. (1994). “Earthworms of south-east Queensland and their agronomic potential in brigalow soils” PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, 10th March, 1994. Pp. 605 + 80 figs.


[With description of >75 spp and reports of laboratory and glasshouse screening trials of 30 of these with two medium-scale field experiments using a dozen candidate species.  Original copies are lodged in libraries of UQ, Brisbane, and CSIRO Division of Soils, Adelaide.  Some colour photographs/tables did not copy over and WordPerfect pagination changed somewhat during conversion.  The Thesis research and report were completed within 3 years and one of the three referees commented that half the amount of work would have sufficed.  It yet provides the most comprehensive guide to both native and exotic species in Australia although much of the taxonomy is now superseded and unpublished spp names are to be embargoed.  Results partially published in Blakemore (1997, 1999, 2002, 2006)].


2. Blakemore, R.J. (1995a). Curatorial register of Australian National Earthworm Collection specimens lodged in ANIC, Canberra, as compiled while a visiting Research Scientist 1994/5.


3. Blakemore, R.J. (1995b). “The use of earthworms for bioconversion of sewage sludge and municipal waste – a synopsis of relevant literature”. Report commissioned by Gerry Gillespie of the ACT Dept. of Urban Services, Canberra, Australia. November, 1995. Pp. 15.


4. Blakemore, R.J. (1999). Diversity of exotic earthworms in Australia – a status report. In: The Other 99%. The Conservation and Biodiversity of Invertebrates. Eds. Winston Ponder and Daniel Lunney, June 1999. Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.  Pp. 182-187.


5. Blakemore, R.J. (2000). Ecology of Earthworms under the ‘Haughley Experiment’ of Organic and Conventional Management Regimes.  BAH, 18(2): 141-159.  [Derived from author’s BSc Hons. thesis at Westminster Uni., London in 1980/1].  {Additional information on Lady Eve Balfour’s pioneering Haughley Experiment here}.


6. Vermillennium conference presentations Kalamazoo, MI., Sept.16-22, 2000 (?published here):


Vermicology I - Ecological considerations of the earthworms species in vermiculture.

Vermicology II - The potential, products and problems of vermiculture.

Dances with worms’ - Biology, ecology, taxonomy and vermicomposting.


7. Contents of Tasmanian Earthworms Blakemore (2000) and of Cosmopolitan Earthworms 1st Edn. - Blakemore (2002), 2nd Edn. - Blakemore (2006), 3rd Edition - Blakemore (2008).


8. International Oligochaete Taxonomy Meetings – IOTM1 (Madrid 2003), IOTM2.ppt (Cluj 2005), IOTM3.ppt (Cyprus 2007), IOTM4 (Turkey 2009).


9. Revised Key to Worldwide Earthworm Families from Blakemore (2000) plus Reviews of Criodrilidae (including Biwadrilidae) and Octochaetidae.


10. A revised checklist of Family Exxidae Blakemore, 2000 (Annelida : Oligochaeta).


11. A list of valid, invalid and synonymous names of Criodriloidea and Lumbricoidea [Annelida: Oligochaeta: Criodrilidae (inc. Biwadrilidae), Sparganophilidae, Ailoscolecidae (inc. Komarekionidae), Hormogastridae, Lumbricidae, Lutodrilidae].


          11a. Replacement of Reynoldsia Qiu & Bouché, 1998 (preocc.) with Norealidys Blakemore, 2008 (Oligochaeta : Lumbricidae) – although Csuzdi (pers. comm. & http://earthworm.uw.hu/) lists the type, Reynoldsia andaluciana Qiu & Bouché, 1998 as a synonym of Eiseniella neapolitana (Örley, 1885) and, therefore, the genus enters synonymy too.


12. An updated checklist of pheretimoids (e.g. Amynthas, Duplodicodrilus, Metaphire, Pheretima, Polypheretima, etc.) after Blakemore (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007).


13. A review of Japanese earthworms after Blakemore (2003), a checklist and an Excel matrix/key.

          13a. Copy of Dr R. Horst (1883) describing species from Japan and other Asian countries.

          13b. Helodrilus hachiojii Blakemore, 2007 (Lumbricidae) description from Japan..


14. A checklist of Chilean earthworms after Sielfeld (2002), Zicsi (2004) and Zicsi & Csuzdi (2007).


15. A review of Tasmanian earthworms after Blakemore (2000) (cover).


  15a. Delta computer guide to Tasmanian Species , compressed into one 100 Mb Zip file, with my original ABRS application for funding of this project here and funds transfer letter here (as released under parliamentary privilege being, most incredibly, the subject of questions listed in Hansard). The Delta installation is required. See Delta web site for information on Delta and to download the program.

  15b. Details of Hypolimnus pedderensis - extinct under IUCN’s Red List with my original TasPaWS application here (for which project funds went missing).

  15c. Appendix: Earthworms from Tasmanian Wilderness WHA.

  15d. Two-headed Tasmanian (an earthworm regenerating second head) - as published here.

  15e. First “Common Earthworm” recorded from Australia (Tasmania) - as published here.

  15f. Complete, comprehensive list of Tasmanian type specimens and museum materials examined.

  15g. Eophila eti Blakemore, 2008 (Annelida: Lumbricidae) Tasmanian description and distribution.


16. Checklist of earthworms of Britain and Ireland after Sims & Gerard (1985, 1999).


17. Review of Southern Ocean, South Atlantic and Subantarctic species after Lee (1994).


18. Review of Pacific/Oceania earthworms updated from Lee (1981) and Easton (1984).


19. Checklist of USSR/Russian Federation taxa updated from Perel (1979, 1997).


20. Checklist of Myanmar taxa updated from Gates’ (1972): “Burmese Earthworms”.


21. A review of New Zealand earthworms after Lee’s (1959): “Earthworm Fauna of N.Z.”.


22. Checklist of Thailand taxa updated from Gates’ (1939): “Thai Earthworms”.


23. A definitive checklist of Australian earthworms (Annelida, Oligochaeta: Moniligastridae, Ocnerodrilidae, Acanthodrilidae, Octochaetidae, Benhamiinae, Exxidae?, Megascolecidae, Glossoscolecidae, Lumbricidae, Eudrilidae).


24. Checklist of Taiwan earthworms updated after Blakemore et al. (2006): “Biodiversity of Earthworms in Taiwan: a species checklist with the confirmation and new records of the exotic lumbricids Eisenia fetida and Eiseniella tetraedra.” Taiwania. 51(3): 226-236 [mirror here].


25. Checklist of New Guinea earthworms (original).


26. North American (USA & Canada) earthworms north of the Rio Grande (original).


27. Updated list of all 850 known Latin American taxa from Brown & Fragoso (2007): <Minhocas na América Latina: Biodiversidade e Ecologia> in collaboration with authors (Aug 2007).         

          27a. Preliminary checklist of Amazonian earthworms (original cf. later Brazilian ref.).


28. Checklist of Korean earthworms (original).


29. Tables of Hawaiian and Puerto Rican earthworm species (original).


30. Summary of Diversity and Ecology of Subantarctic Macquarie Island Oligochaeta, updated planarian flatworms paper, originally from here; and photo of author (RJB) mixing with locals.


31. Blakemore, R.J. (2000, 2006). New species of the earthworm genus Anisochaeta from New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum. 52(1): 1-40. [Original paper that newly described and revised 50 species withdrawn and republished by Blakemore (2006a.1)].


32. Blakemore, R.J. (2000, 2006). Native earthworms (Oligochaeta) from southeastern Australia, with the description of fifteen new species.  Records of the Australian Museum. 52(2): 187-222.  [Original paper withdrawn and republished by Blakemore (2006a.2) with printable map here].


33. Blakemore, R.J. (2001). Finding Fletcher’s Giant Worms. Eucryphia 54: 5-6 (July, 2001).


34. Microbes and (vermi-)composting; author’s presentation to Australian Worm Growers’ Association (AWGA) at Goulburn, NSW in 2000.


35. VERMALCHEMY: ecological economics and taxonomy of vermicomposting - summary of author’s EPA presentation (Melbourne, Victoria, 9th March, 2001).


36. Plant hormones & Worm casts (Summary 1); and Rice & Soybean with Vermicast (Summary 2).


37. List of earthworms from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (Excel spreadsheet) compiled by R.J. Blakemore with help from Dr Nguyen Duc Anh, Tran Triet and Khamla Inkhavilay.

          37a. Notes on Amynthas mekongianus (Cognetti, 1922) – one of World’s longest worm species.

         37b. Blakemore et al. (2007): Megascolex (Promegascolex) mekongianus Cognetti, 1922: its extent, ecology and allocation to Amynthas (Oligochaeta: Megascolecidae). Opuscula Zoologica. 36: 19-30 (Aug. 2007).


38. Indian and Sri Lankan earthworms (original) compiled by R.J. Blakemore with some advice from Dr J. M. Julka via Dr. B.K. Senapati.

          38a. Earthworms of Tamil Nadu, S. India by R.J. Blakemore with help for P. Kathireswari.


39. Chinese earthworms from mainland and Hainan (original) compiled by R.J. Blakemore with help from Dr Jian Huang and Drs Jian-Ping Qiu and Wei-Xin Zhang.


40. Excel list of Indonesian earthworms by R.J. Blakemore with help from Hari Nugroho.


41. Earthworms from Malaysia and from Singapore (original Excel).


42. Earthworms from Greenland and Iceland (original).


43. Scandinavian earthworms (original).


44. Galapagos Islands Earthworms (original).


45. Mexican Earthworms compiled by R.J. Blakemore with help from Drs G. Brown and C. Fragoso.


46. Cuban Earthworms (original) compiled by R.J. Blakemore after Rodriguez (2004).


47. List of Argentinean earthworms (original from Blakemore, 2005) with help for Cathy Mischis.


48. Publications from Yokohama National Uni COE earthworm projects by R.J. Blakemore.


48a. Blakemore et al. (2007): Alien earthworms in the Asia/Pacific region with a checklist of species and the first records of Eukerria saltensis (Oligochaeta : Ocnerodrilidae) and Eiseniella tetraedra (Lumbricidae) from Japan, and Pontoscolex corethrurus (Glossoscolecidae) from Okinawa.  In: Koike, F., Clout, M.N., Kawamichi, M., De Poorter, M. and Iwatsuki, K. (eds.), Assessment and Control of Biological Invasion Risks. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, and Shoukadoh Book Sellers, Kyoto, Japan, 2007.  Pp. 173-181. [vege1.kan.ynu.ac.jp/isp/pdf/IAS_risk.pdf or www.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2006-061.pdf].

          48b. Blakemore, R.J. & Paoletti, M, (2006). Australian Earthworms as a Natural Agroecological Resource. Annals of Arid Zone. 45 (3/4): 309-330. [Authors’ pdf draft].


49. Glossary of Earthworm terms, conventions and abbrvs. (from Blakemore, 2002, 2006).


50. Michaelsen, W. (1900): Das Tierreich. 10: Vermes, Oligochaeta. Friedländer & Sohn, Berlin.  Pp. XXIX+575, figs. 1-13.* 


*[I hope soon to scan my annotated copy of the book, originally belonging to Sir William Blaxland Benham (1860-1950) that was passed on to Dr Ken Lee (1927-2007) when he started his N.Z. studies in the 1940’s and which Dr Lee very kindly handed down to me when I visited him and our mutual colleague, John Buckerfield, in Adelaide in 1999].


Acknowledgements and Dedication


Partial support for CD publications, but not all the initial work, was by the 21stCentury COE (Centre-Of-Excellence) Program “Environmental Risk Management for Bio/Eco-Systems” at Yokohama National University (YNU) under the auspices of Mombusho the Ministry of Education, etc. of Japan.  Dr Takafumi Kamitani of YNU is thanked for exorcising my Japanese computer possessed by Oni.  Yuko Hiramoto of Sakuragicho has assisted in various ways to support these projects.  Dr Geoff Read at NIWA helped get the current effort online.

Dedication is to the foremost earthworm eco-taxonomist and mentor Dr Ken Lee (1927-2007).


[Earlier Disclaimer and Licence Agreement]                                                   [End of Earthworm Series ToC].