Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Correspondence
Published: 2017-08-23
Page range: 287–291
Abstract views: 115
PDF downloaded: 1

Earthworms of Malta (Annelida: Clitellata: Acanthodrilidae,  Hormogastridae, Lumbricidae)

Department of Physics, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
Department of Biology, University of Malta, Msida MSD2080, Malta
Department of Physics, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
Acanthodrilidae Hormogastridae Lumbricidae Clitellata Annelida


The oldest museum specimens of earthworms from Malta are two adult lumbricids collected in 1878 by Enrico Hillyer Giglioli, then director of the Royal Zoological Museum in Florence, during the cruise of the R. Goletta Olga in the Mediterranean islands. The material, still preserved in Florence (S. Cianfanelli, in litteris), was determined by Baldasseroni (1907) who assigned it to Octolasium transpadanum Rosa, 1884. This remained the only species reported from Malta in the literature for over one century (Michaelsen 1908; Pop 1948; Rota 2013), until Csuzdi & Sciberras (2014) published a note listing another five lumbricid species and a juvenile hormogastrid. The present paper reports on collections made during 1983–1985 and in 2015, yielding six additional new records for the area.


  1. Anderson, E.W. (1997) The wied: a representative Mediterranean landform. GeoJournal, 41, 111–114.

    Axiak, V., Gauci, V., Mallia, A., Mallia, E.A., Schembri, P.J. & Vella, A.J. (1999) State of the environment summary report for Malta 1998. Environment Protection Department, Ministry for the Environment, Floriana, 130 pp.

    Baldasseroni, V. (1907) Contributo alla conoscenza dei Lombrichi italiani. Monitore zoologico italiano, 18, 48–57.

    Cassar, L.F., Conrad, E. & Schembri, P.J. (2008) The Maltese archipelago. In: Vogiatzakis, I.N., Pungetti, G. & Mannion, A.M. (Eds.), Mediterranean island landscapes: natural and cultural approaches. Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 297–322.

    Csuzdi, C. & Sciberras, A. (2014) The first earthworm records from Malta (Oligochaeta Lumbricidae). Biodiversity Journal, 5, 505–508.

    EEA (European Environment Agency) (2016) Land use - State and impacts (Malta). SOER Common environmental theme from Malta. Published: 30 Nov 2010. Modified: 21 Mar 2015. Available from: (accessed 10 Junuary 2017)

    Gentile, F., Lacirignola, C., Puglisi, S. & Trisorio-Liuzzi, G. (1999) Setting up of an experimental area in Malta for hydraulic management and environmental restoration of "Chadwick Lakes". Medit, 10, 25–35.

    Hunt, C.O. (1997) Quaternary deposits in the Maltese Islands: a microcosm of environmental change in Mediterranean islands. GeoJournal, 41, 101–109.

    Hunt, C.O. & Schembri, P.J. (1999) Quaternary environments and biogeography of the Maltese Islands. In: Mifsud, A. & Savona Ventura, C. (Eds.), Facets of Maltese prehistory. The Prehistoric Society of Malta, Valletta, pp. 41–75.

    Martinucci, G.B. & Omodeo, P. (1988) Oligocheti della Sicilia. III Contributo. Animalia, 15, 233–247.

    Micallef, A., Foglini, F., Le Bas, T., Angeletti, L., Maselli, V., Pasuto, A. & Taviani, M. (2013) The submerged paleolandscape of the Maltese Islands: Morphology, evolution and relation to Quaternary environmental change. Marine Geology, 335, 129–147.

    Michaelsen, W. (1908) XIV c. Oligochaeta für 1907. Archiv für Naturgeschichte, 74, 1–19.

    Novak, T., Csuzdi, Cs., Janžekovič, F., Pipan, T., Devetak, D. & Lipovšek, S. (2015) Survival of the epigean Dendrodrilus rubidus tenuis (Oligochaeta: Lumbricidae) in a subterranean environment. Acta Carsologica, 43, 331–338.

    NSO (2016) Trends in Malta 2016. National Statistics Office, Valletta, 106 pp.

    Omodeo, P. (1956) Sistematica e distribuzione geografica degli Hormogastrinae (Oligocheti). Archivio Botanico e Biogeografico Italiano, 32, 159–177.

    Omodeo, P. (1960) Oligocheti della Sicilia. Memorie del Museo civico di Storia naturale di Verona, 8, 69–78.

    Omodeo, P. (1964) Oligocheti della Sicilia, II. Bollettino dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali di Catania, Series IV, 8, 73–85.

    Omodeo, P., Rota, E. & Baha, M. (2003) The megadrile fauna (Annelida: Oligochaeta) of Maghreb: a biogeographical and ecological characterization. Pedobiologia, 47, 458–465.

    Omodeo, P. & Rota, E. (2008) Earthworm diversity and land evolution in three Mediterranean districts. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 59 (Supplement 1), 65–83.

    Pace, A. & Cilia, D. (2004) The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola. Heritage Books, Valletta, 40 pp.

    Pop, V. (1948) Lumbricidele din Romania. Analele Academiei Republicii Populare Române, Sectiunea de Stiinte Geologice, Geografice si Biologice, Seria A, 1 (9), 1–124.

    Pop, V. (1968) Les lumbricidés cavernicoles de la collection Biospeologica. Archives de Zoologie expérimentale et générale, 109, 229–256.

    Prampolini, M., Foglini, F., Biolchi, S., Devoto, S., Angelini, S. & Soldati, M. (2017) Geomorphological mapping of terrestrial and marine areas, northern Malta and Comino (central Mediterranean Sea). Journal of Maps, 13, 457–469.

    Rosa, D. (1893) Viaggio del Dr. E. Festa in Palestina, nel Libano e regioni vicine. II. Lumbricidi. Bollettino dei Musei di Zoologia e Anatomia comparata della Regia Università di Torino, 8, 1–14.

    Rota, E. (2013) Fauna Europaea: Terrestrial Oligochaeta, Aphanoneura and Polychaeta. Fauna Europaea. Version 2.6.2. Available from: (accessed 18 July 2017)

    Rota, E., Caruso, T. & Bargagli, R. (2014) Community structure, diversity and spatial organization of enchytraeids in Mediterranean urban holm oak stands. European Journal of Soil Biology, 62, 83–91.

    Rota, E. & de Jong, Y. (2015) Fauna Europaea: Annelida - Terrestrial Oligochaeta (Enchytraeidae and Megadrili), Aphanoneura and Polychaeta. Biodiversity Data Journal, 3 (e5737), 1–48.

    Rota, E., Marchán, D.F. & Omodeo, P. (2016) Hormogaster regina sp. n. (Annelida: Clitellata: Hormogastridae): a giant earthworm from Spanish Catalonia, described from morphological and molecular evidence. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 261, 56–65.

    Schembri, P.J. (1997) The Maltese Islands: climate, vegetation and landscape. GeoJournal, 41, 115–125.

    Schembri, P.J. (2003) Current state of knowledge of the Maltese non-marine fauna. In: Malta Environment and Planning Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2003. Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Floriana, pp. 33–65.

    Sultana, J. & Falzon, V. (Eds.) (1996) Wildlife of the Maltese Islands. Environment Protection Department, Floriana, 336 pp.

    Vassallo, A. (1991) The vegetation of il-Maqluba, an inland doline. Unpublished BSc dissertation, Department of Biology, University of Malta, Msida, VIII + 90 pp.