Re, Deep-sea Capitellidae

JAMES BLAKE jablake at
Tue Nov 21 16:08:39 EST 1995

Dear Annelid enthusiasts, 

This is for Betsy Brown who inquired about deep-sea capitellids and if 
anybody was working on them these days.

Betsy, we revisted the Cape Hatteras slope in 1992 and those results as 
well as others from our 1983-1986 slope studies were published in a 
special issue of Deep-Sea Research II in 1994.  Two different species 
lists were published: one attached to the Blake and Hilbig community 
paper included the Cape Hatteras infaunal list; the second attached to 
Hilbig's zoogeographic paper, included species from the larger area of 
the Carolina slope.  Although I consolidated several of the earlier 
maldanid names in the later study, I don't think the capitellid names 
changed much from those that you had identified back in the 1980's.

More interesting, we collected 67 box cores from off northern 
California as part of 3 surveys conducted in 1990 and 1991 to identify 
a site for dredged material disposal.  The depths ranged from about 600 
to 3050 m.  A total of 13 species of Capitellidae were identified; 
species names were put on 11, 2 appear to be new to science.  

We also were able to see polychaetes from 21 box cores taken from the 
Central Pacific Gyre by NOAA in 1993 from depths exceeding 4800 m.  As 
I recall, the capitellids were in very bad shape; but I can check my 
data sheets if you are interested.  

I also have some capitellids from hydrothermal vents (Guaymas Basin and 
Gorda Ridge) being included as part of two manuscripts (Vent MSS IV and 
V).  These are papers are mostly finished.  The capitellids are being 
referred to known species.

Finally, I am responsible for the capitellid chapter in vol. 7 (the 
last annelid volume) of the Taxonomic Atlas of the Santa Maria Basin 
and Western Santa Barbara Channel.  I have only just begun to look at 
the specimens, so not much to report.  These samples are mostly from 
shelf depths: 90-550 m, but some of the old Phase I stations were from 
depths to 900 m. It is likely that some of the specimens from the 
deeper stations will overlap with the northern California species and 
those identified by Hartman and later Fauchald as part of surveys 
(California and Mexico) in the 1950's and 1960's.

Betsy, we can converse privately if any of this information is of 
interest to you.  Sorry you got flamed.

Jim Blake
ENSR Consulting and Engineering
89 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543
(508) 457-7900 FAX: 457-7595
(jablake at

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