coral reef symbiont worms

Harry A. ten Hove hove at
Thu Jan 16 11:16:18 EST 1997

>Dear colleagues,
>We are interested in having additional information (e.g., ecology of the
>relationships, references) concerning some polychaetes mentioned as coral
>and/or sponge associates in the book "REEF CREATURE IDENTIFICATION.
>FLORIDA, CARIBBEAN BAHAMAS" by Paul Human (Ned Deloach ed.). Dr.
>Pettibone and Dr. Perkins were mentioned as the responsible for the
>polychaete identification (scaleworms and others, respectively).
>More concretely, the partners we are interested on are:
>        - the sponge Neofibularia nolitangere with Haplosyllis sp. and
>Hydroides spongicola,
>        - the coral Stephanocenia michelini with a new species (?) of
>Any information well be welcomed, particularly on the following two points:
>        1.- Who described Hydroides spongicola, and in which paper?
>        2.- Are the non-identified serpulid currently described?
>Thank you very much in advance,
>        Daniel Martin and Temir A. Britayev.


As for 1.- you already have an answer. Presently I am finishing (with Tom
Perkins) a paper on Floridean Hydroides, in which a redescription is given
of H. spongicola, with full synonymy and a short ecological note. Students
of my sponge colleague dr. Rob van Soest once did a study on Neofib.,
unfortunately unpublished, but a very brief account of their results is
included in mentioned manuscript. The association with syllids was
mentioned too by COLIN, P.L. 1978.- Caribbean reef invertebrates and

As for 2.- the answer is no. Vermiliopsis as such has proven to be too
difficult for my liking (see HOVE, H.A. TEN, 1994.- Serpulidae (
Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Seychelles and Amirante Islands. In:
Oceanic Reefs of the Seychelles. Cruise Reports Neth. Indian Ocean
Program, II (ed. J. van der Land), Nat. Nat. Mus. Leiden, p.107-116, 1

When Tom Perkins consulted me regarding Humann's material (summer 1991),
there were some discrepancies between his observations and mine, and the
material as far as sent to me was insufficient (e.g. lacking the
operculum) for a more definite determination. One should keep in mind
that about 8 nominal species of Vermiliopsis have been described from the
Caribbean, and I did not have the types available for comparison. Most of
the observed characters at that time (and later confirmed by SEM of
chaetae and uncini) pointed to Vermiliopsis spec. rather than to
Pseudovermilia madracicola (HOVE, H.A. TEN, 1989.- Serpulinae
(Polychaeta) from the Caribbean : VI- Pseudovermilia madracicola sp.n., a
symbiont of corals. Studies in honour of Dr.Pieter Wagenaar Hummelinck,
Found. Sci. Res. Surinam Neth. Ant. 123: 135-144, 32 figs.), however not
to one of the two species that can be discerned under the name
"Vermiliopsis annulata" (see HOVE, H.A. TEN, & G. SAN MARTIN, 1995. -
Serpulidae (Polychaeta) procedentes de la I Expedicion Cubano-Espanola a
la Isla de la Juventud y Archipielago de los Canarreos (Cuba). Studies
Nat. Hist. Caribbean Region 72: 13-24.). However unsatisfactory it may be,
for the time being I still cannot do better than "Vermiliopsis spec.".

Harry A. ten Hove
Institute for Systematics and Populationbiology
Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam
POB 94766, 1090 GT AMSTERDAM

tel. 3120 5256906
fax. 3120 5255402
Email: hove at

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