Differences Between Epigeic Earthworm Populations in Tank Bromeliads from Puerto Rico and Dominica
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Large differences were found between the abundance, biomass and distribution of epigeic earthworms in the bromeliads of montane forests in Puerto Rico and Dominica. In Dominica they occurred in more than 90% of plants and made up 60-80% of the total invertebrate community biomass, whereas in Puerto Rico they were only found in 8% of plants and were less than 2% of invertebrate biomass. In Dominica, therefore, these worms are likely to have a major role in processing canopy litter falling into bromeliad rosettes, as other groups of leaf processors, such as Isopoda and Diplopoda, were relatively infrequent. Conversely, in Puerto Rican bromeliads, where earthworm abundance was low, Isopoda and Diplopoda comprised a higher proportion of the invertebrate community. The earthworm species occurring in the two islands were different, Neotrigaster complutensis and Trigaster yukiyui in Puerto Rico, and Eutrigaster sporadonephra in Dominica. The biogeography of epigeic worms in bromeliads is briefly discussed.