Phylogeographic studies are helpful in reconstructing invasion history and population dynamics. Since the first introduction of Amynthas species into the United States in the 1930’s, Amynthas species (invasive jumping worms) have spread throughout the eastern United States and into Canada. Three Amynthas species, Amynthas agrestis, Amynthas tokioensis, and Metaphire hilgendorfi, all affect productivity and nutrient cycling in soil and forested ecosystems. Recent studies have used the COI barcoding region to track invading taxa and elucidate cryptic diversity.

This study investigates populations of Amynthas species on the Hamilton College campus. Using the COI barcoding region to conduct a phylogeographic investigation, we analyzed (n = 80) specimens and found five distinct haplotypes on the Hamilton College campus. Three lineages were Amynthas tokioensis, the other two haplotypes were Amynthas agrestis and Metaphire hilgendorfi. The largest species sampled was Amynthas tokioensis (n = 63). Amynthas agrestis and Metaphire hilgendorfi had 11 and 5 individuals identified, respectively. Low haplotype diversity suggests a low rate of invasion and few introduction events. The large Amynthas tokioensis population and three haplotype lineages suggest that the species is more established in upstate New York. Amynthas tokioensis could also be outcompeting the other two species.

Type of Work


Department or Program



Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Patrick Reynolds

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Creative Commons License
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