Pontoscolex corethrurus: A homeless invasive tropical earthworm?

Autoři: Angel I. Ortíz-Ceballos aff001;  Diana Ortiz-Gamino aff001;  Antonio Andrade-Torres aff001;  Paulino Pérez-Rodríguez aff002;  Maurilio López-Ortega aff001
Působiště autorů: Instituto de Biotecnología y Ecología Aplicada (INBIOTECA), Universidad Veracruzana, Col. Emiliano Zapata, Xalapa, Veracruz, México aff001;  Programa de Estadística, Campus Montecillo, Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, Estado de México, México aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222337


The presence of earthworm species in crop fields is as old as agriculture itself. The earthworms Pontoscolex corethrurus (invasive) and Balanteodrilus pearsei (native) are associated with the emergence of agriculture and sedentism in the region Amazon and Maya, respectively. Both species have shifted their preference from their natural habitat to the cropland niche. They contrast in terms of intensification of agricultural land use (anthropic impact to the symbiotic soil microbiome). P. corethrurus inhabits conventional agroecosystems, while B. pearsei thrives in traditional agroecosystems, i.e., P. corethrurus has not yet been recorded in soils where B. pearsei dwells. The demographic behavior of these two earthworm species was assessed in the laboratory over 100 days, according to their origin (OE; P. corethrurus and B. pearsei) food quality (FQ; soil only, maize stubble, Mucuna pruriens), and soil moisture (SM; 25, 33, 42%). The results showed that OE, FQ, SM, and the OE x FQ interaction were highly significant for the survival, growth, and reproduction of earthworms. P. corethrurus showed a lower survival rate (> mortality). P. corethrurus survivors fed a diet of low-to-intermediate nutritional quality (soil and stubble maize, respectively) showed a greater capacity to grow and reproduce; however, it was surpassed by the native earthworm when fed a high-quality diet (M. pruriens). Besides, P. corethrurus displayed a low cocoon hatching (emergence of juveniles). These results suggest that the presence of the invasive species was associated with a negative interaction with the soil microbiota where the native species dwells, and with the absence of natural mutualistic bacteria (gut, nephridia, and cocoons). These results are consistent with the absence of P. corethrurus in milpa and pasture-type agricultural niches managed by peasants (agroecologists) to grow food regularly through biological soil management. Results reported here suggest that P. corethrurus is an invasive species that is neither wild nor domesticated, that is, its eco-evolutionary phylogeny needs to be derived based on its symbionts.

Klíčová slova:

Biology and life sciences – Organisms – Eukaryota – Animals – Invertebrates – Annelids – Earthworms – Plants – Grasses – Maize – Agriculture – Agricultural soil science – Nutrition – Diet – Microbiology – Medical microbiology – Microbiome – Microbial genomics – Genetics – Genomics – Population biology – Population metrics – Death rates – Ecology and environmental sciences – Species colonization – Invasive species – Soil science – Research and analysis methods – Animal studies – Experimental organism systems – Model organisms – Plant and algal models – Medicine and health sciences


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