Compliled by

Kathryn A. Coates, Jan M. Locke, *Brenda M. Healy, and Mark J. Wetzel

This web site established and maintained by

Mark J. Wetzel, Research Scientist, Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), Champaign, Illinois USA 61820
Dr. Kathryn A. Coates, Research Scientist, 2 Silk Alley, St. George's, Bermuda GE 05

* Our dear friend and colleague, Brenda Healy, passed away on 5 March 2006 in Ireland. A memoriam celebrating her life was published in the proceedings of our 10th International symposium on Aquatic Oligochaeta [Acta Hydrobiologica Sinica, vol. 31: 1-9] in mid-2008, and is also accessible as a pdf download via a link from her name HERE. We miss her very much.

This website is updated periodically; we welcome your suggestions, additions, and corrigenda.

Introduction. This electronic document provides a current checklist of North American species of Enchytraeidae and Propappidae (Annelida, Clitellata, Oligochaeta); marine, estuarine, and freshwater species are included. The list is not intended to be a taxonomic revision; nomenclature presented herein reflects the majority opinion of that published in the scientific literature. The scope of this list was initiated in 1989 by two of the authors (Coates and Wetzel) through their association with and guidance from the Committees on Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertebrates sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS-CNAI) and the North American Benthological Society (NABS-CNAI).

Objective. This list reflects a thorough and continuing survey of the historical and current literature, reflected in the modification date at the end of this electronic document. Within the next few months, we hope to resolve errors and omissions that have inevitably occurred, then publish this document in the peer-reviewed literature. Your comments and contributions are welcome.

Taxonomic Coverage. Currently, more than 830 species of annelids representing 27 families,12 orders, and five classes (Oligochaeta, Aphanoneura, Branchiobdellae, Acanthobdellae, and Hirudinea) are recognized as occurring in the U.S. and Canada; these include both native and introduced species. Certainly, continued systematic studies will add new species, identify previously recognized species as synonyms, and contribute to revisions within the family.

Area of Coverage. This list includes all species enchytraeids and propappids from the United States and Canada that live in (1) fresh waters, including wetlands, (2) marine waters from shoreline habitats out to a depth of 200 m on the continental shelf or a distance of 125 km offshore on the continental shelf where the depth is less than 200 m, (3) estuaries, and (4) terrestrial habitats (e.g., gardens, woodlands, mountains, deserts, and caves). Annelids from the Arctic Ocean and the northern Gulf of Mexico, south, to the mouth of the Rio Grande are included. Grainger's (1971) definition of the Arctic Ocean is followed, which, to the west, includes the waters north of the Bering Strait, and to the east includes all waters west of the eastern end of Hudson Strait (including Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay, Frobisher Bay, and Cumberland Sound) and waters north of the Arctic Circle in Davis Strait. Annelids known only from offshore islands (e.g., Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the West Indies) are excluded. A lack of studies and/or the absence of a good compilation of literature on the annelids of many regions in the area may have resulted in the exclusion of numerous taxa. Species known from the periphery of the area of coverage, e.g., Mexico (including Baja California), are likely to be found to have populations extending into the study area.

For the eastern Pacific region, published records of annelids from waters along Canadian and U.S. shores and coastal islands, from the Aleutian Islands to the Mexico - United States boundary, are listed. Hawai'i and the Pacific Trust Territories are excluded from the study area for two major reasons: (1) their faunas are of Indo-Pacific origin whereas the northeast Pacific Coast fauna is largely indigenous or Holarctic, and (2) the preceding AFS endeavors excluded Hawai'i and the Trust Territories from its study area. Annelids occurring in Hawai'i may be included in later editions.

Common Names. The AFS-CNAI acknowledges the need to recognize common names that reflect broad current usage; adopt appropriate names from the rich and colorful vernacular names that exist; and develop descriptive names when desirable, based on AFS guidelines and principles. The Committee expects that the selected vernacular names and newly designated names of this list will be widely used after publication.

The AFS-CNAI Annelida Subcommittee recognizes that common names of annelids are used primarily by commercial wormers and amateur collectors, for aquarium specimens, in ecological studies, in government listings of threatened and endangered species, and in popular writing. Common names of annelids are uncommon and usually absent from scientific writings, however, especially those focusing on freshwater species. The Annelida Subcommittee has taken the position that standardized and uniform common names should always be referenced with appropriate scientific names - not used as substitutes for them. Proper identification and recording of some species are important because of their high economic values. Worm and leech bait-industries have a total value in southern Ontario, Canada, alone of several million dollars. The existence of different common names in separate areas of a species' geographic range creates difficulties in communication. Similarly, a single common name employed in several places for diverse species causes confusion. Therefore, because common names have been assigned to only a few species to date, only common names recognized for some of the higher taxa will be included in this electronic posting (e.g., Family Enchytraeidae - potworms). The Annelida Subcommittee will not be proposing common names for annelid species that do not presently have one or more common names established in the literature.

Plan of the List. The list of annelids is presented in a natural or phyletic sequence of classes and orders, as this natural sequence is currently understood, with families, genera, and species within each order arranged alphabetically. The higher classification of Annelida is complex, controversial, and frequently revised. The classification adopted here is conservative - it reflects only the consistently supported parts of the phylogeny of annelids (Timm, 1981; Brinkhurst, 1982; Kasprzak, 1984; Jamieson, 1988; Holt, 1989; Gelder 1996; other recent papers to be added here) and is not resolved where relationships are unsupported by data; alphabetical listings predominate. Undoubtedly, the hierarchical status of groups will change in the future - resulting from ongoing studies of the relationships among clitellates as well as those between all clitellate and aclitellate groups of annelids.

Authors and dates of establishment for scientific names of species are included in this list. These are commonly needed by persons who may not have ready access to the original literature. Use of the authority's names reflects a current interpretation of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (1999). In line with that code, the name(s) of the author(s) and date of publication follow the specific name; if the species was originally described in another genus, the name of the author and date appear in parentheses. Some synonyms have been noted [= name] of North American names synonymized with European taxa. Frequently, the North American names are re-erected subsequent to detailed comparative studies of North American specimens.

In 2003, Rüdiger Schmelz published an extensive revision of the species in the genus Fridericia, so you are encouraged to secure a copy of that book for a current perspective on the species in this genus [taxonomy, nomenclature, morphology, biochemistry, valid species, nomina dubia, species transferred to other genera, an extensive reference section, and numerous figures]. a full citation and information on ordering a copy of this publication is included on the page accessed via the 'Literature Cited and Selected References for Enchytraeidae.....' website link, below.

Occurrences of species by province and state will not be provided here; an annotated list of species, including common names, is currently being prepared for publication in a print medium.

Please also visit the following websites focusing on Enchytraeidae of North America and elsewhere in the World.

> Key to Grania of North America, Bermuda, and the Caribbean (Annelida: Clitellata: Enchytraeidae)

> List of Marine Species in the Family Enchytraeidae (Annelida: Clitellata: Enchytraeida)

> Glossary to diagnostic characters and definitions for Enchytraeidae and Propappidae

> Literature Cited and Selected References for Enchytraeidae and Propappidae (Annelida: Clitellata: Enchytraeida)

The following list is incomplete at this time; additional species will be added soon.






> > > Moved to NEW WEBSITE on 31 July 2003.

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Curator, Collections Manager, and Database Manager, INHS Annelida Collection.

Copyright 1992; 1996-2014, by Mark J. Wetzel (Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign), Kathryn A. Coates, Jan Locke, and *Brenda Healy, unless otherwise noted; All Rights Reserved. This website contains original, copyrighted material; it is being provided here as a professional courtesy, exclusively for your private, non-commercial use. Reference to or redistribution of any part of the information contained herein - whether it be through oral, printed, electronic, or other tangible medium of expression - shall acknowledge the Illinois Natural History Survey and this website as its source. [To the best of my knowledge - and with the exception of the INHS logo - all icons, line breaks, dots, arrows, and globes are not copyrighted.]

Suggested citation for this electronic web site:

Coates, K.A., J.M. Locke, B.M. Healy; and M.J. Wetzel. 2014.
The Enchytraeidae and Propappidae (Annelida, Clitellata, Oligochaeta) occurring in the United States and Canada.
- World Wide Web URL: []. 9 January 2014.

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