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Morphological and morphometric variation of the parthenogenetic earthworm dendrobaena octaedra sav. oligochaeta lumbricidae in eastern fennoscandia



Morphological and morphometric variation of the parthenogenetic earthworm dendrobaena octaedra sav. oligochaeta lumbricidae in eastern fennoscandia



Annales Zoologici Fennici 25(4): 303-320



The morphological and morphometric variability of the parthenogenetic earthworm D. octaedra was surveyed in relation to environmental and geographical variables by inspecting worms according to sets of biotopes in different parts of eastern Fennoscandia where the species lives at the northern edge of its range. The number of segments ranged widely (56-108) but populations were homogeneous as to mean and median numbers of segments in all biotopes and regions. Since adults and small juveniles (.ltoreq. 15mm) possess the same number of segments, the individuals grow by increase in size rather than in the number of segments. Characters related to body size, viz., circumference and size of postclitellar segments, body length and weight increased northwards; this cline was also observed within each biotope. In southern adults the clitellum and tubercula pubertatis were more protruding than in northern ones. The relative intersetal distances in the post-clitellar segments were constant in all age groups, biotopes and areas. In 38% of D. octaedra adults and in 40% of subadults male pores were lacking. Populations were homogeneous in this respect; no seasonal or geographical variation was observed. D. octaedra adults representing common clones (= overall allozyme phenotypes) and clone groups (= overall allozyme phenotypes deviating with respect to one to four enzyme variants from those of the most abundant clone) were insepcted to relate morphological and morphometric variability to genotypic differences between the worms. The genotypes did not correlate with the cline: post-clitellar segment size varied greatly but the northward increase was observable within the clones and clone groups irrespective of the biotope. The cline was thus interpreted as a probable general adaptation to the climate. The number of segments, presence of male pores and protuberance of the clitellum and tubercula pubertatis did not correlate with the genotype, either.

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Accession: 007569111

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