Systematics of groundwater oligochaetes (annelida, clitellata) in karstic areas of the cantabrian region/erregio kantauriarreko eremu karstikoetan dauden lurpeko oligoketo (annelida, clitellata) urtarren sistematika

Supervised by:
  1. Pilar Rodríguez Rodríguez Director

Defence university: Universidad del País Vasco - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Fecha de defensa: 30 March 2012

  1. Erseus Christer Chair
  2. Benjamín Gómez Moliner Secretary
  3. José Galián Albaladejo Committee member
  4. Enrique Martínez-Ansemil Committee member
  5. Martin Patrick Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 349833 DIALNET


This thesis deals with the oligochaete taxa (Annelida, Clitellata) from several karst units in the Cantabrian region, northern Iberian Peninsula. Groundwater oligochaetes are still poorly known fauna and the area seems to be a promising hotspot for groundwater taxa. Metodology is based on both morphological and molecular analyses. More than 7,000 specimens were collected from five karst units and >60 taxa were identified. Stygobiont oligochaete fauna in the northern Iberian Peninsula is diverse and mostly endemic (range areas <300 km). Three new stygogiont oligochaete species are described: Gianius navarroi Rodriguez & Achurra, 2010, Isochaetides gianii Rodriguez & Achurra, 2010 and Troglodrilus jugeti Achurra et al., 2012; and another four new taxa will be described in the near future. Taxonomic remarks on Lophochaeta ignota Stolc, 1886 and Troglodrilus galarzai (Giani & Rodriguez, 1988) are provided. The controversial separation of L. ignota and Heterochaeta costata Claparède, 1863 from Tubifex Lamarck, 1816 is corroborated by mitochondrial molecular data. Following the DNA barcoding method, individuals of the stygoxene species Stylodrilus heringianus Claparède, 1862 from different geographic areas are shown to represent a single metapopulation. The first phylogenetic analysis of the subfamily Tubificinae based on molecular data is attemped, which although incompletely resolved, evidences for the first time a close relationship between a stygobiont oligochaete (Troglodrilus Juget et al. 2006) and an estuarine especies (Heterochaeta costata Claparéde, 1863). A marine ancestor is hypothesised for Troglodrilus. Finally, Ereñozar karst unit (Biscay) is suggested to be a hotspot for groundwater oligochaetes (11 stygobiont taxa, of which 4 are endemic to the karst unit) and several biodiversity indices (Species richness, Rarity, Vulnerability and Complementarity) are shown to be useful tools for conservation management of groundwater habitats in that karst area.