Principle

Earthworms may be sampled in a variety of ways, depending on behavioral traits and habitat preferences. Different groups of earthworms inhabit different portions of a soil volume and may be sampled accordingly. For example, some epigeic species (e.g., Bimastos spp., Amynthas spp.) may be collected by hand in the litter layer or in and under logs. Deep burrowing, anecic species such as Lumbricus terrestris may be best sampled with chemical irritants that cause the worms to emerge to the soil surface where they may be hand collected. Many endo-geic and epigeic species can be quantitatively collected by digging and hand sorting a known volume of soil. In general, the appropriate methods depend on the purpose of sampling (e.g., quantitative sampling versus qualitative biodiversity surveys). Collection and enumeration methods are reviewed in detail by Lee (1985), Edwards and Bohlen (1996), and Hendrix (2000).

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