Faunistic and ecological analysis of the soil nematode community of a holm oak woodland on Etna


  • M. T. Vinciguerra
  • L. Giannetto


A study was made of faunistic and ecological composition and of the vertical distribution of the litter and soil nematodes of a holm·oak woodland on Etna. Sampling was made at two stations (A and B), which differed in the structure of the wood. Among the 64 species found, 38 were present in both stations and most of them were common, eurytopic species. The population density, higher in the litter than in the soil, was similar at both stations, but for the upper layers of soil, whose density was lower at station B. The number of species and variety index were higher at station B, where the floristic composition of the wood was richer. Some of the species were present only or mainly in the litter and others only or mainly in the soil; the trend in the vertical distribution of the species was similar at the two stations. The analysis of the ecological composition showed a large number of bacterial, miscellaneous and fungal feeders. Bacterial feeders were more abundant in litter than in soil and relatively more abundant at station B than A, probably relating to the different degree of decomposition of the litter. The structure of the wood and the thickness of the litter seem to affect the distribution, density and ecological composition of nematodes in the soil.