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Table 1 Ecological categories and niches of earthworms and their characteristic features and beneficial traits

From: Microbial diversity of vermicompost bacteria that exhibit useful agricultural traits and waste management potential

Species Ecological category Ecological niche Characteristic features Beneficial trait
Eisenia foetida, Epigeics Superficial soil layers, leaf litter, compost Smaller in size, body uniformly pigmented, active gizzard, short life cycle, high reproduction rate and regeneration, tolerant to disturbance, phytophagous Efficient bio-degraders and nutrient releasers, efficient compost producers, aids in litter comminution and early decomposition
Lumbricus rubellus,     
L. castaneus,     
L. festivus,     
Eiseniella tetraedra,     
Bimastus minusculus,     
B. eiseni,     
Dendrodrilus rubidus,     
Dendrobaena veneta,     
D. octaedra     
Aporrectodea caliginosa, Endogeics Topsoil or subsoil Small to large sized worms, weakly pigmented, life cycle of medium duration, moderately tolerant to disturbance, geophagous Brings about pronounced changes in soil physical structure, can efficiently utilize energy from poor soils hence can be used for soil improvements
A. trapezoides,     
A. rosea,     
Millsonia anomala,     
Octolasion cyaneum, Polyhumic endogeic Top soil (A1) Small size, unpigmented, forms horizontal burrows, rich soil feeder  
O. lacteum,     
Pontoscolex corethrurus, Mesohumic endogeic A and B horizon Medium size, unpigmented, forms extensive horizontal burrows, bulk (A1) soil feeder  
Allolobophora chlorotica,     
Aminthas sp. Oligohumic endogeic B and C horizon Very large in size, unpigmented, forms extensive horizontal burrows, feeds on poor, deep soils  
L. terrestris, Anecics Permanent deep burrows in soil Large in size, dorsally pigmented, forms extensive, deep, vertical permanent burrows, low reproductive rate, sensitive to disturbance, phytogeophagous, nocturnal Forms vertical burrows affecting air-water relationship and movement from deep layers to surface helps in efficient mixing of nutrients
L. polyphemus,     
A. longa