Number of worms

Kathryn Coates kcoates at bbsr.edu
Thu Oct 22 16:54:38 EST 1998


Just an incomplete response to this numbers discussion. Below, it is
mentioned that there are "at least 600 microdrile species". There must be
many more than this. There are about 550 described species in the single
"microdrile" family Enchytraeidae. Some of this number are synonyms but the
rate of description of new species seems to be keeping pace with the
recognition of synonymies, at least in the marine environment and from
tropical forests.

Kathy Coates
<kcoates at bbsr.edu>

At 11:01 AM 10/22/98 +0200, Land, J. van der wrote:
>	In an earlier reaction I estimated the number of valid species of
>annelids to be in the order of 11.000 of which 3000 are oligochaetes. In
>John Reynolds & David Cook's Nomenclatura Oligochaetologica (Supplement 3,
>1992) the number of given species names is 7254. Because more than half of
>those must be synonyms the number of 3000 valid species is not too low. Of
>those at least 600 are microdriles, mostly aquatic. Consequently the
>number of known earthworm species is lower than 2400, probably
>considerably lower but good revisions are lacking for several groups.
>
>	People tend to think that such numbers are underestimates. ...

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