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Cold hardiness and range of the earthworm Eisenia sibirica (Oligochaeta, Lumbricidae)

Berman, D. I., Bulakhova, N. A., Meshcheryakova, E. N.
Contemporary problems of ecology 2016 v.9 no.1 pp. 45-52
Lumbricidae, biogeography, cold tolerance, earthworms, hills, indigenous species, mountain soils, rivers, soil temperature, valleys, Siberia
A hypothesis of range formation of the earthworm Eisenia sibirica Perel et Graphodatsky 1984, which is an endemic species of the Altai–Sayan mountain system and is also found on the adjacent plains of Siberia across the valleys of the rivers, is suggested. The limited distribution of the species can be connected with the insufficient cold hardiness of the worm stage (–10 to–12°C). The plains of Western Siberia lie in an area of minimum soil temperature isotherms at a depth of 3 cm:–12 to–14°C, i.e., on average 2–4°C below the tolerable limits for this species. Foothill and mountain soils are warmer, since they obtain much more solid precipitation. Low soil temperatures of the plains apparently “lock up” this species within the Altai–Sayan system. At the same time, there are reasons to consider the northernmost locations of E. sibirica to be relict.