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P. Martin (1996)

Oligochaeta and Aphanoneura in ancient lakes: A review

Hydrobiologia, 334(1-3):63-72.

By their antiquity, history, rarity, great depth in many instances and the presence of highly diverse faunas with many endemics, ancient lakes constitute ecosystems of a special nature, clearly apart from the large majority of extant lakes. While the fauna of these lakes is becoming better and better known for various animals groups, the Oligochaeta are still poorly known. Tubificidae and Naididae are found in each ancient lake. On the other hand, some families are restricted to only one lake, such as Aeolosomatidae and Proppapidae in Lake Baikal or Eudrilidae and Ocnerodrilidae (megadriles) in Lake Tanganyika, but such a distribution is probably due to a lack of knowledge or sampling biases. All ancient lakes have an endemic oligochaete fauna except Lake Kinneret (Israel). The oldest, Lake Baikal (20-25 Ma), holds the most abundant and diverse oligochaete fauna, in which species flocks are even recognizable or suspected. In contrast, the oligochaete fauna of the slightly younger Lake Tanganyika is very scarce. This is partly due to an obvious lack of studies, as the oligochaete fauna of other great African lakes is virtually unknown, but this might be the result of an environment in these lakes less favourable to oligochaetes. Some factors likely to interact with speciation in oligochaetes are discussed but nothing can be concluded to date. A recent interest in African great lakes revealed a more diverse oligochaete fauna than previously assumed but a better study of this fauna is still badly needed.

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