Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E42

The discovery of the first terrestrial hairworm (Nematomorpha: Gordiida) and new tools for evaluating the diversity of hairworms in terrestrial and aquatic habitats throughout Iceland.

Höfundar / Authors: Ben Hanelt (1), Matthew G. Bolek (2)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. University of New Mexico, 2. Oklahoma State University

Kynnir / Presenter: Christina Anaya

Hairworms are parasites of terrestrial arthropods with a 2-host life cycle, but all described species have an aquatic free-living adult stage. However, our field observations on a new species of hairworm from the U.S. indicate that thousands of adult free-living worms appear in terrestrial habitats, where they mate, and then disappear within days of being observed in these habitats. Surveys of earthworms in these areas indicated 55% of earthworms (262/480) contained hairworm cysts suggesting hairworm larvae were present in the soil. Comparative assays on egg laying behavior of the new species of hairworm and 2 species of aquatic hairworms indicated only hairworms collected from terrestrial habitats burrowed and deposited eggs in the soil. Examination of eggs of the new hairworm species collected from terrestrial habitats indicate they were unlike the eggs of any other hairworm species and contain double membranes suggesting these eggs may be resistant to desiccation. A literature review of hairworms in Iceland indicated that hairworms appear in terrestrial habitats during rain events, suggesting that other hairworm species occur in terrestrial habitats. To our knowledge, no one has investigated aquatic or terrestrial habitats for hairworms in Iceland. As part of my study on the biodiversity of hairworms of Iceland, I will use indicator species such as aquatic snails and earthworms to investigate the occurrence and diversity of hairworms in habitats throughout Iceland.