Molecular data confirms the existence of distinct lineages within Lumbricus friendi (Cognetti 1904) and related “friends”

Briones, M.J.I.; García-Souto, D.; Galindo, J.; Morán, P.; Keith, A.; Schmidt, O.. 2022 Molecular data confirms the existence of distinct lineages within Lumbricus friendi (Cognetti 1904) and related “friends”. European Journal of Soil Biology, 108, 103382. 12, pp.

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Lumbricus friendi is a lumbricid earthworm mainly found in western Europe, considerably less well studied than its close relative L. terrestris and until now, has not been a subject of taxonomical debate. However, its disjointed geographical distribution suggesting striking similarities to the Celtic fringes and of the so-called “Lusitanian” species merits further investigation. Our aim was to examine the genetic variation of this species and other related taxa within the genus (L. terrestris, L. rubellus, L. rubellus friendoides and L. friendi bouchei) to test for the existence of cryptic lineages that might explain its current distribution. Using mitochondrial (16S and COI) and nuclear (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism, AFLP) markers, we provide the first genetic basis not only to support the recent claim that L. friendi bouchei should be elevated to species rank (L. bouchei Zicsi and Csuzdi 1999), but also to conclude that L. rubellus friendoides is a valid species too, deserving a new name (L. heracleus stat. nov.). In addition, the AFLP results indicated the existence of a high cryptic diversity within L. friendi populations, which lacked geographic structure, resulting in the French samples being genetically closer to those from Ireland and Wales than to the Spanish ones. Our findings further highlight the likelihood that L. friendi and L. bouchei might have been overlooked or confounded with L. terrestris/L. herculeus and question the reliability of L. friendi records reported in the literature and those deposited in museums and sequence libraries (we provide evidence that this seem to be the case with two examples). We therefore advocate for a better link between morphological diagnostic characters and molecular sequences and the taxonomical validation of museums’ collections and sequence repositories.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1164-5563
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: earthworms, 16S, COI bar coding, AFLP, genetic diversity, Lumbricus heracleus
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 19 Jan 2022 12:11 +0 (UTC)

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