Biodiversidad y ecología de las lombrices de tierra en las islas caribeñas
This chapter presents a synthesis of the ecological and taxonomic studies performed on earthworms in the Caribbean, highlighting the limitations, challenges and perspectives of earthworm research in the region. The records included are from research performed by the authors and from the bibliography. The region has 10 families, 33 genera and 125 earthworm species. The best represented family is Acanthodrilidae, with nearly 9% of the total and 70% of the native species. Around 75% of the specie and 42% of the genera are native, and the endemism for the region is high (69%). Among the exotics, the Megascolecidae family predominates. The annual production of publications on ecology and taxonomy is very low (less than one article per year), and most of the ecological studies (almost 90%) are from Puerto Rico and Cuba. The main limitation in the knowledge of earthworms in the region is the low number or complete lack of samples in many islands, which has led to an incomplete understanding of their diversity and ecology. Only Puerto Rico can be considered reasonably well inventoried. Greater efforts by taxonomists and ecologists through local or regional projects that contemplate the lesser-known sites and complete the inventories of the better known islands will contribute significantly to the basic and practical/applied knowledge on earthworms of the Caribbean.