Abstract 85
Pavlíček, T. and Csuzdi, Cs. 2008: Did the autochthonous earthworm fauna emigrate from the Levant to Cyprus. Pp. 189-200. In: Pavlíček T. and Cardet P. (Eds.), Advances in Earthworm Taxonomy III (Annelida: Oligochaeta). Proceedings of the 3rd International Oligochaeta Taxonomy Meeting (3rd IOTM), Platres, Cyprus, April 2nd to 6th 2007. Nicosia: En Tipis Voula Kokkinou Ltd. 228 pp.
As shown recently, the number of autochthonous earthworm taxa in Cyprus is higher than expected for the island rising from open sea. There are 18 earthworm species recorded so far in the island and nine to 11 (50-61%) of them are regarded as native. The interpretation of the present distributions of these taxa, in light of the East Mediterranean tectonic history, allows us to ask the following: Could we reject the hypothesis that the autochthonous earthworm species immigrated along the ridges exposed during the Messinian Salinity Crisis Period (MSCP) from the Levantine coast to Cyprus? The answer is no, because of the following reasons: (a) about 73% of the autochthonous fauna in Cyprus could have originated in the Levantine coast connected to Cyprus during the MSCP, (b) missing in Cyprus are many Anatolian autochthonous genera (Allolobophora, Cernosvitovia, Eophila, Healyella, Lumbricus, Spermophorodrilus) as well as many typical Anatolian species groups (Aporrectodea (e.g., Ap. dubiosa and Ap. handlirschi), Eisenia (e.g., E. grandis and E. colchidica, Healyella (e.g., H. naja and H. michaelseni), Dendrobaena (e.g., D. bruna and D. fridericae) but only one Levantine autochthonous genus (Healyella), (c) there is no geological evidence of land bridges present between Cyprus and the coast of Anatolia and the Levant after the end of the MSCP. The evidence indicates that the drying up of the Mediterranean Sea during the MSCP could be the most important event during which the autochthonous earthworm biodiversity of the island was established.