Tasmanian Earthworms CD-ROM

Rob robblakemore at bigpond.com
Thu Jan 11 05:07:00 EST 2001

Wishing fellow wormworkers a Happy New Millennium!

A CD-ROM on "Tasmanian Earthworms" is now available that includes a 
comprehensive introduction to biology/morphology/reproduction, plus a 
revision of the megadrile families of the World.  This 800 page 
monograph with 222 figures would be of value to ecologists, taxonomists, 
teachers, and students involved in this field of study, particularly those in 
Australasia but also workers from other regions of the Globe.  

Summary of Contents 
The monograph includes background information, a comprehensive 
introduction to study methods, and then describes 228 species in 38 
genera belonging to 4 families of earthworms from Tasmania. Prior to 
1997 approximately 55 species were known while in the three years to 
2000 studies by the author had almost doubled this to 95 species 
comprising: 69 natives, 1 neo-endemic, 23 exotics and 2 translocated 
mainland endemics. The current account makes new combinations and 
adds 136 new native taxa, several with interesting morphological 
adaptations never before seen, to nearly triple the total of Tasmanian 
endemics to 202 species in 24 genera.  This biodiversity compares with 
species totals of approximately:   
48 from Britain and Ireland, 
78 from Japan, 
160 from North America and Canada, 
174 from Myanmar, 
180 from France, 
192 from New Zealand, 
350 from the Indian subcontinent, 
and c. 350 from mainland Australia. 

Previously known species are fully revised, some are placed in 
synonymy, a few are restored, and, in two cases, neotypes are 
designated.  Tasmania, an island state about the same size as Ireland, 
Sri Lanka, or Hispaniola, can now claim the first earthworm described 
from Australasia viz. Megascolides orthostichon (Schmarda, 1861), the 
first Australian report of  Lumbricus terrestris Linnaeus, 1758, a new 
littoral species of Pontodrilus Perrier, 1874 with an argument for 
Australian endemicity of this genus, as well as the first known loss of a 
native species from the World fauna due to the extinction of Hypolimnus 
pedderensis - the Lake Pedder Earthworm. All 18 megadrile Oligochaeta 
Families of the World are reviewed and revised in order to place 
Tasmanian genera in the context of the global fauna. The long anticipated 
'missing-link' of Octochaetidae in Australia is newly determined, e.g. 
Octochaetus ambrosensis (Blakemore, 1997).  No endemic 
Acanthodrilidae nor Octochaetidae occur in Tasmania as are found on 
both the North and South Islands of New Zealand and in northern 
Australia.  All Tasmania's earthworms belong to the Megascolecidae s. 
strict.  A new Family is proposed in order to remove a "troublesome" and 
'puzzling' element, the genus Exxus Gates, 1959 that complied with the 
Octochaetidae except that its two pairs of prostates had the apomorphic 
racemose state, and which was placed by disparate authors in either a 
restricted Megascolecidae or an expanded Acanthodrilidae, although it 
actually complied with neither.  Presumed to be an Australian genus, the 
present study concludes that it is most likely from Central America 
(possibly around Puerto Rico). The fresh classification presented, like 
most previous ones, owes much to the 'Classical System' originally 
devised by Michaelsen (1900, 1907, 1921, 1929), presented in its final 
form by Stephenson (1930), and modified by Lee (1959), Gates (1959, 
1972), and Sims (1966, 1980, 1982).  


The price for the "Tasmanian Earthworms" CD-ROM is AUS $100 or US 
$55 or UK £38. On offer until 1st April is a cost of AUS $50 or US $28 or 
UK £20 to individuals who also arrange purchase by their institution at the 
full price.  There are special prices for schools, to non-institutionalized 
students, and for CSIRO - details of these are available on application to 
the author.  

All prices include tax but there is an additional postage and handling fee 
of AUS $10 per CD (or equivalent currency) that needs to be added to 
invoice totals. PC format is Microsoft Word 97 or higher, the ability to 
read CDs, and to view GIF/JPEG files. A complementary DELTA/INTKEY 
interactive computer guide to the species is also available for distribution 
to accompany the CD-ROM monograph.   

Enquiries in the first instance should be made to the author:
Rob Blakemore PhD
PO BOX 414 Kippax 
Canberra ACT 2615 Australia
Tel: + 61 2 6278 5610
Email: robblakemore at bigpond.com

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"-that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. 
JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)

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