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Errant earthworms (reply re Sabella etc) (fwd)

Geoffrey Read Geoffrey.Read at actrix.gen.nz
Tue Dec 5 03:48:04 EST 1995


Help! I'm trapped in a forwarding loop!

Intended for <annelida at net.bio.net>

For better or worse I've changed the subject header.  Please reply to Sam, or
preferably continue this discussion on the Annelida list. -- GBR

===================== Begin forwarded message ===========================
Sam James writes:-
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 95 00:47:53 CST
From: "Sam James" <sjames at mum.edu>
Subject: Re: Sabella spallanzanii from Java? (fwd)

>Date: Mon, 04 Dec 1995 12:43:22 -0500
>From: Kristian Fauchald <mnh.fauchald at ic.si.edu>
>To: gread at actrix.gen.nz
>Subject:  Re: Sabella spallanzanii from Java? -Reply
>
>Several hundred years had passed between the "discoveries" of the
>various non-European countries and the time we started to become
>aware of the potential for transportation on ship-bottoms and so forth. 
>There is something a bit peculiar about the whole debate about
>transportation: 1. Rafting on pieces of wood or on ship-bottoms is
>different in kind apparently from the rafting on pieces of continent.  Time
>scale is different, but in principle rafting is rafting whether it is slow or
>fast.  2.  The fact that the earliest description might be from Europe or
>North America does not guarantee that this is the "origin" of the taxon: 
>All it says is that the taxon was first noticed where the density of
>taxonomists where the highest. 
>
>Kristian Fauchald

Hear, Hear! The situation is paralleled by earthworms, which 
raft on continents and islands only (except for the very few euyhaline 
species), as far as is known . Some have achieved wide distributions 
cruising about _inside_ ships and airplanes.  There are many cases where 
species were first described from material collected well outside the 
natural ranges of the species or their close relatives.  For example: 
Drawida bahamensis, a native of India first found halfway around the world 
from its origin.
    The only situation of which I am aware that has caused any debate 
about natural ranges involves the Lumbricidae, a Holarctic but largely 
Palearctic family with a couple dozen species common to both continents.  
Now it is generally believed that these species owe their residence in 
North America to human activity.  It helps that they are also quite common 
in south temperate and montane tropical areas.
   Are most polychaetes confined to fairly limited areas, with a few 
"naturally" widely distributed species?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sam James    Dept. of Biology
FM 1056   Maharishi Univ. of Management
Fairfield, Iowa USA 52557
515-472-1146  fax:472-1167

Ecology and Systematics of Earthworms
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



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