Anna Lanen

MicroCT scanning of Austrian lumbricid earthworm specimens as an attempt for species-level identification of juvenile Lumbricidae (Annelida, Clitellata)

Advisor: Gerhard Steiner

Master's Defensio
Thursday, July 20th 2023, 10:30 CET
SR 5.1, UBB, Djerassiplatz 1, 1030 Vienna


Earthworms are of great ecological importance and are known as great soil improvers. In earthworm populations, juvenile earthworms, that do not exhibit fully matured reproductive organs, form the vast majority. In morphological identification keys, juvenile earthworms, however, have been claimed to be unidentifiable as they seemed to lack reproductive morphological features in macroscopic analysis and dissections. This project aims to use MicroCT scanning to search for diagnostic morphological features in 3 adult and 3 juvenile Austrian earthworm specimens and attempt identification. The method of MicroCT scanning will thereby be tested and verified with DNA-barcoding of the CO1 sequences of each specimen. Data have shown that most of the diagnostic morphological features are visible in both adult and juvenile earthworm specimens and that the identification of two juvenile Fitzingeria platyura platyura specimens and one juvenile Lumbricus terrestris specimen was possible with MicroCT scanning and verified with DNA-barcoding.

© Anna Lanen