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Distribution status
Figure 1: terrestrial biogeographic realms, as defined by Olson DM et al., 2001.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Species can be widely distributed or have a restricted distribution. DriloBASE distinguishes 4 types of species present out of their native area, adaptated from definitions gave by Brown et al., 2006 (see below: cosmopolitan, peregrine, exotic and invasive). Conversely, species with restricted distribution are called endemic. Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone. Organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. DriloBASE distinguishes 5 types of species endemism (see below: ecozonal, regional, local, strict and insular).
  • Peregrine: species that may be native to a country but have colonized areas outside their native range. A species can be peregrine but not exotic neither invasive.
  • Exotic: species found outside their native ranges, mainly transported and introduced by humans, and generally found in disturbed habitats.
  • Invasive: species introduced deliberately or unintentionally (usually transported by humans) outside their native habitats, that successfully establish themselves in, and then modify (possibly outcompeting native species, if present) otherwise intact native ecosystems.
  • Cosmopolitan: species with a large distribution (usually worlwide). DriloBASE uses this status for a given species when the distinction between peregrine, exotic and invasive is unknown.
  • Ecozonal endemic: species whose maximal range extends up to a biogeographic realm, as defined by Olson DM et al., 2001 (see figure 1). Terrestrial biogeographic realms include Palearctic, Nearctic, Afrotropic, Neotropic, Indo-Malaya and Australasia.
  • Regional endemic: species whose maximal range extends up to several locations (countries or territories) or sub-locations (administrative sub-divisions of Canada, United-States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Russia, India, China or Australia), but on only a fraction of a biogeographic realm (as defined by Olson DM et al., 2001).
  • Local endemic: species whose maximal range extends up to a unique location (country or territory).
  • Restricted endemic: species whose maximal range is confined to one or a few number of sites, corresponding to a fraction of location (country or territory).
  • Insular endemic: species whose maximal range is confined to one or a few number of islands, and geographically confined to a small surface.
Ecological categories
Figure 2: epigeic, anecic and endogeic ecological categories, after Lavelle and Spain, 2001.
Click on the image to enlarge.
In DriloBASE, species are classified into 13 ecological categories, adaptated from Bouche (1972), Lavelle and Spain (2001) and Bouche (2014), corresponding to their life history traits and ecological niches (main categories are indicated on figure 2).
  • Epigeic: species living within the litter layers. They are subject to occasional drought, extreme temperatures and high predator densities. They are small and homochromic worms, pigmented green or reddish depending whether they inhabit grassland or forest. Epigeics balance a high mortality by using a high-quality food (leaf litter) which permits rapid growth rates and a high fecundity. They are typical r-selected (prolific) species in the sense of Pianka (1970).
  • Epiendogeic: species living at the interface between the organic matter layer and the layer located just below.
  • Anecic: anecics feed on surface litter that they mix with soil but pass most of their time in subvertical subterranean galleries created within the soil. They are large worms with a dark antero-dorsal pigmentation and a strong anterior digging musculature. Their demographic profile is of the K type, with long lives, relatively slow growth rates but low mortalities.
  • Endogeic: endogeics are unpigmented geophagous worms that live and feed within the soil, a better buffered and more predictable environment than the litter. However, food resources, e.g., decomposing roots and soil organic matter are generally of lower quality than leaf-litter and are concentrated within the upper ten centimetres of soil and around plant roots. Endogeics have developed different ways to use these resources (see below).
    • Polyhumic: endogeic species exploiting concentrations of organic matter by, e.g., being small and selectively ingesting organic particles, especially in the rhizosphere, or feeding at the soil-litter interface.
    • Mesohumic: endogeic species of medium-size that ingest the soil of the upper 10-15 cm without selecting organic particles.
    • Oligohumic: large and slow-moving species that live deep in the soil in highly predictable and stable environments with very poor food resources. The demographic profiles of endogeic species change from r to K or A.
  • Saproxylic: species living in deadwoods in decomposition.
  • Corticolous: species found in a thin layer of organic matter under bark of alive or dead standing trees.
  • Arboreal: species living in suspended soils, e.g. within root system of epiphyte plants.
  • Hygrophilic: species living in or close to wetlands and wet soils, but not found in muds and hydromorphic soils.
  • Amphibious: species living in muds and hydromorphic soils.
  • Aquatic: species living in freshwater environments (water column and/or sediments).
  • Marine: species living on the seashore, in marine environments (water column and/or sediments).
Redefinition or additional precisions to the official description of a taxon (plural Emenda).
Incertae sedis
Latin for "of uncertain placement": term used for a taxonomic group where its broader relationships are unknown or undefined (see ITZN, 1999).
Lapsus calami
Latin for "lapse, slip, error", an involuntary mistake made while writing or speaking (see ITZN, 1999).
Nomen dubium
Latin for "doubtful name" (plural nomina dubia) (see ITZN, 1999).
Nomen nudum
Latin to indicate a name which looks exactly like a scientific name of a taxon, and may have originally been intended to be a scientific name, but fails to be one because it has not (or has not yet) been published with an adequate description (or a reference to such a description), and thus is a "bare" or "naked" name, one which cannot be accepted as it currently stands.
Principle of Priority
This is the principle that the correct formal scientific name for an animal taxon, the valid name, correct to use, is the oldest available name that applies to it. It is the most important principle - the fundamental guiding precept that preserves zoological nomenclature stability. It was first formulated in 1842 by a committee appointed by the British Association to consider the rules of zoological nomenclature (see ITZN, 1999).
Species inquirenda
Latin for "doubtful species" requiring further investigation (see ITZN, 1999).
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that applies to a taxon that (now) goes by a different scientific name. In taxonomy a synonym is not interchangeable with the name of which it is a synonym. Synonyms are not equals, but have a different status. For any taxon with a particular circumscription, position, and rank, only one scientific name is considered to be the correct one at any given time (this correct name is to be determined by applying the relevant code of nomenclature). A synonym is always the synonym of a different scientific name and cannot exist in isolation. Given that the correct name of a taxon depends on the taxonomic viewpoint used (resulting in a particular circumscription, position and rank): a name that is one taxonomist's synonym may be another taxonomist's correct name (and vice versa). Synonyms may arise whenever the same taxon is described and named more than once, independently. They may also arise whenever existing taxa are changed, as when a species is moved to a different genus, or two genera are joined to become one, etc.
A taxon (plural taxa) is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit: concretely, it corresponds to a given species, genus, family, etc. A taxon is usually known by a particular name and a given particular ranking, especially if and when it is accepted or becomes established. If a taxon (here belonging to earthworms) is given a formal scientific name, its use is then governed by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) specifying which scientific name is correct for a particular grouping (see also ITZN, 1999).
Type genus
Genus which defines a biological family and the root of the family name (see also Type species and ITZN, 1999).
Type species
Species to which the name of a genus or subgenus is permanently linked, the species that contains the biological type specimen(s) (latin: Species typica). Every named genus or subgenus, whether or not currently recognized as valid, should have a type species (see also Type genus and ITZN, 1999).