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Lethal effects of UV-radiation on lumbricid earthworms

Lethal effects of UV-radiation on lumbricid earthworms

Pedobiologia 43(6): 874-879

ISSN/ISBN: 0031-4056

The detrimental effects of solar radiation, in particular its UV-B component, on lumbricid worms on the surface of the ground have been analyzed. Eisenia fetida and Lumbricus terrestris were irradiated with a quasi-solar light-spectrum including visible (VIS) and UV wavelengths. With a special filtering technique the spectral composition in the UV range was varied without changing the total quantum yield: VIS + UV-A or VIS + UV-A + UV-B. As a control, the animals were also exposed to visible radiation alone. Even radiation limited to the visible range had lethal effects on the animals. Under natural VIS intensities worms died within a day. The lethal duration was further shortened by adding UV-A to the spectrum and shortest when quasisolar UV-B was also present. The lethal radiation time (LT 100) decreases exponentially with increasing radiation intensities regardless of spectral composition in the UV-range, approaching a limit of ca. 7 h under UV-B for both lumbricid species. At low intensities, however, L. terrestris lives considerably longer than E. fetida. The LT 100 cannot be decreased unlimited by raising intensity, within the range of natural solar radiation, because the animals have protective mechanisms (pigmentation, mucus) that enable them to survive for some time under UV.

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Accession: 035217727

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