On Schmarda's lost earthworm and some newly found New Zealand species (Oligochaeta: Megadrilacea: Lumbricidae, Acanthodrilidae, Octochaetidae, & Megascolecidae s. stricto)

  • Blakemore, Robert J. (Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland (Te Whare W-ananga o T-amaki Makaurau) (UA), National Institute of Biological Research (NIBR))
  • Received : 2012.07.11
  • Accepted : 2012.08.24
  • Published : 2012.08.30


The saga of Megascolides orthostichon (Schmarda, 1861)-the first native worm described from Australasia-continues as its type-locality is unequivocally returned from Hobart, Tasmania to Mt Wellington, Auckland where a brief survey failed to unearth it. Since it has not been seen for 150 yrs, it may qualify under NZTCS or IUCN classification as 'Nationally Critical' if not 'Extinct'. New reports are for exotic Megascolecidae Anisochaeta kiwi sp. nov. and A. kiwi mihi sub-sp. nov. plus addition to the NZ faunal list of Australian Anisochaeta macleayi (Fletcher, 1889) that, due to its wide distribution in Australia and now New Zealand, may be a candidate model-species suitably resilient for eco-toxicological culture and monitoring. For holarctic Lumbricidae, new records are of Dendrobaena attemsi (Michaelsen, 1903) and the Murchieona muldali (Omodeo, 1956) morph or subspecies of M. minuscula (Rosa, 1906), neither lumbricid previously uncovered in Asia/Australasia. Also found for the first time outside its East Asian homeland is Eisenia japonica (Michaelsen, 1892) (which is compared to Japanese E. japonica hiramoto sub-sp. nov. and to E. anzac Blakemore, 2011). Records of these exotics plus recent new native species described by the author-including two, Rhododrilus mangamingi and Deinodrilus orcus spp. novae, herein-raise the numbers of megadriles known from New Zealand to 228 (sub-)species in five families. Preliminary mtDNA COI sequence barcodes are presented. Genus Tokea Benham, 1904 is revived on its lack of dorsal pores, losing or gaining some species with Megascolides M'Coy, 1878. An updated checklist of all 228 New Zealand taxa is appended.


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