Correlation between some environmental variables and abundance of Almophrya mediovacuolata (Ciliophora: Anoplophryidae) endocommensal ciliate of an anecic earthworms (Oligochaeta: Annelida) in Bambui (North-West Cameroon)
This study was devoted to accessing the influence of some soil physico-chemical parameters on the abundance of Almophrya mediovacuolata Ngassam, 1983, astome ciliate of the digestive tract of earthworms (EW) of the species Alma nilotica collected along “Fa’a ntsa” stream in Bambui. The survey primarily involved soil samples collection from the same spots of EW collection and preparation for physico-chemical analysis; evaluation in situ of the volumic density (VD) of worms (number /dm3 soil), their dissection, isolation and counting of ciliates with respect to different portion of EW’s gut (fore, mid and hindgut). Furthermore, correlation analysis between soil physico-chemical parameters and biological responses (EW volumic density and ciliate abundance) were performed. The results reveal that EW abundance was positively and significantly correlated with the following physico-chemical parameters: Cation Exchange Capacity CEC (p <0.01) and Mg2+ (p <0.05). A positive and significant correlation was found between Almophrya mediovacuolata and the pH of KCl in the foregut and midgut (p <0.01) while a negative and significant correlation was found between the abundance of Almophrya mediovacuolata and Ca2+ in the foregut (p <0.05). Almophrya mediovacuolata were found mostly in the foregut. This result shows that each portion of the digestive tract of Alma nilotica can be considered as a set of natural microhabitat in which a number of physico-chemical factors generate ecological niches suitable for the survival of different species of microorganisms among which ciliated protozoa. The fore and midgut was noticed to be the preferential zones of Almophrya mediovacuolata.
Keywords: Biotic parameters, ciliated protozoa, microhabitat, soil physico-chemical parameters.