VERMI-COMPOSTING POTENTIAL OF TWO ENDEMIC EARTHWORM SPECIES AMYNTHAS GRACILIS AND OCTOLASION CYANEUM OF KUMAUN HIMALAYAS COMPARED TOEISENIA FETIDA(AN EXOTIC SPECIES)

Neha Rajwar, Satpal Singh Bisht and Vinay Singh

Department of Zoology, Kumaun University, Nainital-263002, Uttarakhand, India

[Email: rajwar.neha@gmail.com]
Received: 06-07-2018 Revised: 18-07-2018 Accepted: 09-10-2018

Abstract
Hill agriculture ensures the sustainability of life at high altitude areas in Kumaun Himalayas. The cultivators by default depend on organic farming solely, as there is no or low practice of using inorganic fertilizers and pesticides responsible for loss of soil fertility. The leaves of common oak tree Quercus leucotrichophora are rich in nutrients which can be released from partially decomposed leaves with the help of endemic earthworm species which facilitates the process of vermicomposting. The surface cast production of two endemic earthworm species of Kumaun Himalayas- Octolasion cyaneum (Savigny, 1826) (Lumbricidae) and Amynthas gracilis (Kinberg, 1867) (Megascolecidae) was compared to the well established exotic vermicomposting species- Eisenia fetida (Savigny, 1826) (Lumbricidae) on oak leaf litter. The surface cast production of Octolasion cyaneum was found as higher as 39.69±15.47 g on the fourth fortnight of the study period and found as promising earthworm species in comparison to the other two species. The C, N and P % of the granular pellet cast (Eisenia fetida) was par good as compared to the faecal like mass cast (Octolasion cyaneum and Amynthas gracilis). The C: N ratio of pellet cast was found 11.5.
Keywords: Earthworms, Vermicomposting, A. gracilis, O. cyaneum and E. fetida.

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