Lowe, Christopher N. and Butt, Kevin R.
Life cycle traits of the parthenogenetic earthworm Octolasion cyaneum (Savigny, 1826).
European Journal of Soil Biology, 44
This laboratory-based study provides baseline life cycle data for the obligatory parthenogenetic earthworm Octolasion cyaneum. Singleton and twin hatchlings were cultured individually with biomass, survival and reproductive condition recorded at 4-weekly intervals during a complete year. After maturation, cocoon production, masses and incubation time were also recorded along with viability and number of hatchlings per cocoon. Individual mean mass of singletons was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than twins at the outset (0.042 and 0.025 g respectively) and remained so until week 52 (2.22 and 1.96 g respectively). Singletons matured more rapidly than twins (24 vs. 32 weeks respectively) and produced more cocoons than twins (3.2 and 2.2 coc worm−1 (4 weeks)−1 respectively). Approximately 20% of all viable cocoons produced twins. Singleton hatchlings weighed significantly (P < 0.05) more than twin hatchlings (0.032 and 0.018 g respectively) but there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between mean masses of singleton (mean masses 0.033 and 0.032 g) or twin (0.017 and 0.018 g) hatchlings produced by singleton and twin parents. The likelihood that a cocoon contained twins or a singleton was not influenced by the singleton/twin status of the parent. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in the incubation times of cocoons produced by singletons and twins (129 and 128 days respectively).