Ecological strategies of earthworms
- Division of Soils, CSIRO, P.O. Box 2, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064
[Abstract of a paper read at the Ecological Society Conference, 1983.]
Niche partitioning and interspecific differences in resource utilisation separate species within earthworm communities so that competition is minimised. Vertical stratification of earthworm species was recognised long ago in New Zealand forest ecosystems, and subsequently similar strategies were described for European species. Patterns of behaviour, food preferences, morphology and reproductive strategy relate to vertical subdivisions of the habitat. Tropical earthworm communities do not clearly parallel the patterns recognised in temperate regions and have led to consideration of demographic profiles as a basis for ecological groupings.