Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2020-02-17
Page range: 34–44
Abstract views: 408
PDF downloaded: 250

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


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.


  1. Benham, W.B. (1903) On some new species of aquatic Oligochaeta from New Zealand. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1903 (2), 202–232.

    Brinkhurst, R.O. (1965) A taxonomic revision of the Phreodrilidae (Oligochaeta). The Journal of Zoology, London, 147, 363–386.

    Brinkhurst, R.O. (1970) A further contribution towards a study of the aquatic Oligochaeta of Africa. Revue de Zoologie et Botanie d'Afrique, 80, 101–108.

    Brinkhurst, R.O. (1991) A phylogenetic analysis of the Phreodrilidae (Annelida, Oligochaeta), with a description of a new species. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 69, 2031–2040.

    Chalupský, J. (1992) Terrestrial Enchytraeidae (Oligochaeta) and Parergodrilidae (Polychaeta) from Sweden, with description of a new enchytraeid species. Zoologica Scripta, 21, 133–150.

    Folmer, O., Black, M., Hoeh, W., Lutz, R. & Vrijenhoek, R. (1994) DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates. Molecular marine biology and biotechnology, 3 (5), 294–299.

    Giani, N., Martin, P. & Juget, J. (1995) A new species of Phreodrilidae (Oligochaeta), Astacopsidrilus naceri sp. nov., from Morocco (North Africa), with notes on the biogeography of the family. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 73, 2375–2381.

    Goddard, E.J. (1909) Contribution to a further knowledge of Australasian Oligochaeta. Part I. Description of two species of a new genus of Phreodrilidae. Proceedings of the Linnean society of New South Wales, 33, 768–793 + Pl. XXIX–XXXI.

    Graefe, U. & Schmelz, R.M. (1999) Indicator values, strategy types and life forms of terrestrial Enchytraeidae and other microannelids. In: Schmelz, R.M. & Sühlo, K. (Eds.), Newsletter on Enchytraeidae No. 6. Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Enchytraeidae, Osnabrück, Germany. Universitätsverlag Rasch, Osnabrück, Germany, pp. 59–67.

    Gunn, R.J.M., Pinder, A. & Walker, B.M. (2003) Phreodrilidae (Annelida: Oligochaeta), a family new to Europe. The Irish Naturalist's Journal, Dublin, 27, 315–317.

    Healy, B. (1979) Records of Enchytraeidae (Oligochaeta) in Ireland. Journal of Life Sciences of the Royal Dublin Society, 1, 39–70.

    Healy, B. & Bolger, T. (1984) The occurrence of species of semi-aquatic Enchytraeidae (Oligochaeta) in Ireland. Hydrobiologia, 115, 159–170.

    Kearse, M., Moir, R., Wilson, A., Stones-Havas, S., Cheung, M., Sturrock, S., Buxton, S., Cooper, A., Markowitz, S., Duran, C., Thierer, T., Ashton, B., Mentjies, P. & Drummond, A. (2012) Geneious Basic: an integrated and extendable desktop software platform for the organization and analysis of sequence data. Bioinformatics, 28 (12), 1647–1649.

    Martin, P., Martínez-Ansemil, E., Pinder, A., Timm, T. & Wetzel, M.J. (2008) Global diversity of oligochaetous clitellates ("Oligochaeta"; Clitellata) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia, 595, 117–127.

    Martin, P. & Ohtaka, A. (2008) A new phreodrilid species (Annelida: Clitellata: Phreodrilidae) from Lake Biwa, Japan. Species Diversity, 13, 221–230.

    Martínez-Ansemil, E., Giani, N. & Sambugar, B. (2002) Oligochaetes from underground waters of Oman with descriptions of two new species of Phreodrilidae (Oligochaeta): Antarctodrilus arabicus n. sp. and Phreodrilus stocki n. sp. Contributions to Zoology, SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, 71, 147–158.

    Martinsson, S., Rota, E. & Erséus, C. (2015) Revision of Cognettia (Clitellata, Enchytraeidae): reestablishment of Chamaedrilus and description of cryptic species in the sphagnetorum complex. Systematics and Biodiversity, 13, 257–277.

    Nielsen, C.O. & Christensen, B. (1959) The Enchytraeidae. Critical revision and taxonomy of European species (Studies on Enchytraeidae VII). Natura Jutlandica, 8–9, 1–160.

    Nielsen, C.O. & Christensen, B. (1961) The Enchytraeidae. Critical revision and taxonomy of European species. Supplement 1. Natura Jutlandica, 10, 1–23.

    O'Connor, F.B. (1967) The Enchytraeidae. In: Burges, A. & Raw, F. (Eds.), Soil Biology. Academic Press, London, pp. 213–257.

    Pinder, A.M. & Erséus, C. (2000) New Phreodrilidae (Annelilda: Clitellata) from Tasmanian estuaries. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 134, 29–33.

    Pinder, A. (2003) New species and records of Phreodrilidae (Annelida: Clitellata) from Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 21, 307–313.

    Pinder, A. (2008) Phreodrilidae (Clitellata: Annelida) in north-western Australia with descriptions of two new species. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 24, 459–468.

    Pinder, A.M. & Brinkhurst, R.O. (1997) Review of the Phreodrilidae (Annelida: Oligochaeta: Tubificida) of Australia. Invertebrate Taxonomy, 11, 443–523.

    Pinder, A.M., Sweeney, P. & Smith, P.R.J. (2013) First confirmed record of the genus Insulodrilus (Benham, 1903) (Annelida: Clitellata: Phreodrilidae) in Europe. BioInvasions Records, 2, 195–199.

    Renou-Wilson, F., Bolger, T., Bullock, C., Convery, F., Curry, J., Ward, S., Wilson, D. & Müller, C. (2011) BOGLAND: Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Ireland STRIVE Report No. 75. Environmental Protection Agency, Johnstown Castle, Wexford, 157 pp.

    Schmelz, M., Wisdom, R. & Bolger, T. (2015) Phreodrilidae in Irish peatlands: Invasion from down-under or ancient relict? The Irish Naturalist's Journal, 34, 101–103.

    Schmelz, R.M. & Collado, R. (2010) A guide to European terrestrial and freshwater species of Enchytraeidae (Oligochaeta). Soil Organisms, 82, 1–176.

    Sjölin, E., Erséus, C. & Källersjö, M. (2005) Phylogeny of Tubificidae (Annelida, Clitellata) based on mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 35, 431–441.

    Stout, J.D. (1958) Aquatic Oligochaetes occurring in forest litter. - II. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 85, 289–299.

    Vejdovský, F. (1878) Zur Anatomie und Systematik der Enchytraeiden. Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 1877, 294–304.

    Wisdom, R. (2010) Biodiversity of some of the invertebrate taxa occurring in terrestrial habitats in different types of Irish peatlands. PhD thesis. University College Dublin, 273 pp.