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Articles
Published: 2020-02-17

Astacopsidrilus hibernicus sp. nov. (Phreodrilidae, Oligochaeta, Annelida) from Irish peatlands

IfAB Institute of Applied Soil Biology, Tomberg 24a, 22337 Hamburg, Germany University of A Coruña, Science Faculty, GIBE, Evolutionary Biology Group, CICA, Centro de Investigaciones Científicas Avanzadas, As Carballeiras s/n, Campus de Elviña, 15071 A Coruña, Spain
Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 463, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Backweston Campus, Celbridge, Kildare, Ireland
School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin
Annelida Clitellata Irish fauna taxonomy Enchytraeidae

Abstract

The discovery of a large and flourishing population of Phreodrilidae in terrestrial peatlands in northwest Ireland was surprising on two counts: these oligochaete worms are usually aquatic and most of the species occur in the Southern Hemisphere. The phreodrilids were discovered in a project that targeted Enchytraeidae, therefore methods adapted to the investigation of enchytraeids could be applied, including the study of living animals and properly fixed whole mounts. DNA sequencing was also performed. All worms identified here belong to one species, new to science, and placed in the genus Astacopsidrilus, because of the ventral position of the spermathecal pores and the opening of the female funnels inside the spermathecal vestibule. Astacopsidrilus hibernicus sp. nov. is mainly distinguished by thick segmental cushions of epidermal gland cells on the dorsal side of the posterior body half. Male sexual organs and spermathecae are comparatively small and without the often-observed bizarre modifications common in species of this family. DNA sequencing yielded a fragment of the 16S rRNA gene. This is the first description of a phreodrilid species from Europe; the few previous recordings of this family in Ireland and the United Kingdom had been left unidentified.

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