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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The term “earthworm” cannot be satisfactorily defined in the scientific sense but it serves to describe a large number of species of the order Oligochaeta which inhabit soils and accumulations of decaying plant materials, and are occasionally found in shore and aquatic habitats. The earthworms of New Zealand consist of two groups of species. A large group of 173 native and five introduced species (27 genera) belong to the family Megascolecidae and a smaller group of 14 introduced species (seven genera) belong to the family Lumbricidae.


Norman Hargrave Taylor, O.B.E., formerly Director, Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Lower Hutt.