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Fate of Lamprodrilus isoporus (Oligochaeta: Lumbriculidae) in eutrophic lakes

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From the journal Biologia


Lamprodrilus isoporus (Michaelsen, 1901) inhabits Lake Baikal and some other lakes connected with it, and also occurs in northern Europe. The European population, described originally as L. isoporus f. variabilisSvetlov, 1936 does not difier much from the Siberian representatives. Typical habitat of the species is the cool and oxygen-rich profundal of oligotrophic lakes. In two Estonian shallow eutrophic lakes, it has been common in the unvegetated sandy littoral and sublittoral of Lake Peipsi at depths of 1–7 m, and very rare at depths of 0.5–1 m in shallower and more eutrophic Lake Vőrtsjärv. L. isoporus reproduced only sexually in winter in these lakes. The summer population was comprised of larger post-reproductive and smaller young worms. Both cohorts matured in autumn. L. isoporus accounted for one fourth to one third of oligochaetes in zoobenthos samples from Lake Peipsi between the 1960s and the 1980s. Its frequency and abundance have decreased drastically beginning in the 1990s. The reason can lie in the synergistic impact of extremely hot periods in some summers, water blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, and predation by an alien gammarid, Gmelinoides fasciatus. In Lake Vőrtsjärv L. isoporus was still widely distributed in 1959 but was limited to a single station in the subsequent years; it has not been recorded after 1988. L. isoporus is absent from the large Swedish lakes and in many other oligotrophic lakes of northern Europe and Siberia, apparently being a relict of periglacial lakes.

The paper was presented at the 13th International Symposium on Aquatic Oligochaeta, Brno, Czech Republic, 7–11 September, 2015


I am indebted to the scientists, teachers and students of the University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Sciences, to stafi of the former Institute of Zoology and Botany, and to many volunteers who participated in collecting oligochaetes and other zoobenthos on the lakes of Peipsi and Vőrtsjärv. My Russian colleagues, Drs V. Semernoy and I. Kaygorodova have shared with me their unpublished data on L. isoporus. Critical reviews by Drs. Pilar Rodriguez and Steve Fend have much improved the final version of manuscript. Mrs. Ester Jaigma has kindly corrected my English text of this paper.


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Received: 2015-10-13
Accepted: 2015-11-24
Published Online: 2016-2-25
Published in Print: 2016-1-1

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