Structure and diversity of earthworm communities in long-term irrigated soils with raw effluent and treated wastewater

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Water Science & Technology
ABSTRACT This study was conducted in two natural meadows: first, soils were irrigated with raw wastewater (SIRWW) and in the second, soils were irrigated with treated wastewater (SITWW). Earthworms were sampled in eight soil blocks spaced 10 m apart at each site. Earthworm community was characterized and compared using density, biomass, composition, structure, species richness, and diversity parameters. At both meadows, 459 earthworm individuals from two families and seven species were collected. The highest earthworm density and species richness were recorded at SIRWW. Nicodrilus caligenus was the most abundant species. Most of earthworm community parameters decreased significantly at SITWW. Only two species (N. caligenus and Octodrilus complanatus) were common between the two grasslands. Among the seven species identified at both meadows, four (Allolobophora longa, Eisenia foetida, Allolobophora rosea, Allolobophora chlorotica) were exclusively present in SIRWW, whereas a single species (Amynthas sp.) was characterized in SITWW. Three ecological earthworm groups (epigeic, endogeic, and anectic) were represented in SIRWW, with the dominance of endogeics. Further studies are needed to quantify pollution in this soils and the accumulation of pollutant load in earthworms. It is also important to highlight the relationship between the abundance and diversity of earthworms in these two ecosystems with soil biological activity.