Data on the reproductive biology of seven Indian species of earthworms, viz.Perionyx excavatus Perrier,Lampito mauritii Kinberg,Polypheretima elongata (Perrier),Pontoscolex corethrurus (Muller),Eutyphoeus gammiei (Beddard),Dichogaster modiglianii (Rosa) andDrawida nepalensis Michaelsen are presented. The peregrine earthworms such asPerionyx excavatus, Pontoscolex corethrurus, Dichogaster modiglianii, andPolypheretima elongata are considered to be continuous breeders with high fecundity. NativeLampito mauritii andDrawida nepalensis are semi-continuous andEutyphoeus gammiei discrete breeders. There is a dramatic increase in cocoon production by most earthworm species of Tripura in the summer and monsoon with a corresponding peak during April and July. Cocoon production decreased or ceased during winter. Temperature affected the incubation period of cocoons. With increase in temperature, incubation period increased in the endogeic worms,Pontoscolex corethrurus, Polypheretima elongata andDrawida nepalensis and decreased in the epigeic worms,Perionyx excavatus andDichogaster modiglianii, within a temperature range between 28–32°C under laboratory conditions. There was a significant(P < 0.05) positive correlation between number of hatchlings per cocoon and incubation period inLampito mauritii. High rate of cocoon production, short development time with high hatching success, as well as continuous breeding strategies in the epigeic speciesPerionyx excavatus andDichogaster modiglianii and the top soil endogeic species,Pontoscolex corethrurus,Drawida nepalensis andLampito mauritii, indicate their possible usefulness in vermiculture. The giant anecic worm,Eutyphoeus gammiei, which has a very long cocoon development time, discrete breeding strategy and very low rate of cocoon production, is not a suitable species for vermiculture.
Volume 45, 2020
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