Infestation of natural populations of earthworm cocoons by rhabditid and cephalobid nematodes

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Nematodes infested 13 of 100 earthworm cocoons from a compost pile and 17 of 197 cocoons from a permanent pasture soil. Between one and 2000 nematodes were found within the infested cocoons. All nematodes found in cocoons from the compost pile belonged to the genus Rhabditis, while Rhabditis spp. as well as members of Cephalobidae infested earthworm cocoons in the pasture soil. In cultures established from cocoons found in the pasture soil, at least five different types of nematodes belonging to the family Cephalobidae were found. Acrobeloides nanus was found in six cocoons, Cephalobus persegnis was found in four and Chiloplacus minimus was found in one cocoon. We suggest that earthworm - nematode interactions may be an important pathway for the transfer of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, and that the inclusion of these pathways may lead to a better understanding of soil food web functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)125-135
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Key words: Earthworms; nematodes; cocoons; trophic interactions; food web

ID: 8673194