Earthworms are medium-sized to large oligochaetes and very important for decomposition (substrate feeders). Their activity increases the soil fertility (transport of organic matter to deeper soil layers, aeration, spreading of microorganisms). Their distribution is strongly dependent on water content, soil type, vegetation (palatability of the litter), and pH. Buché (1977) distinguished three ecological groups: litter dwellers (epigeic species), horizontal burrowers (endogeic), deep burrowers (anecic). Due to their size, earthworms contribute a large fraction to the biomass in loamy meadows. Few or no earthworms occur in shallow and acid soils.
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- Endogeic Macrofauna
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg