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Tharyx illustration and names

JAMES A. BLAKE jablake at ix.netcom.com
Sat Mar 7 11:42:59 EST 1998

Dear Annelid workers, 

I would like to add a reality check to the current discussion of the 
"Tharyx monilaris" (should be Aphelochaeta) illustration that has just 
appeared in Rouse and Fauchald. 

First, the original description by Hartman (1960: AHPE, vol. 22:127) from
material off southern California lists material from two stations: (1)
Sta. 4723 off Newport Beach in 128 fms in silt. The second location is
Sta. 5586 from off Santa Barbara in 37 fms in green clay. The type is
selected from Sta. 4723 and is illustrated in Plate 12, fig. 1.  Figure 2
from the same plate is the illustration reproduced by Rouse and Fauchald
and is from Sta. 5586.  Therefore, the illustration under discussion is
not the type specimen designated by Hartman and Tom Parker may be correct
in suggesting that it differs from the description of A. monilaris.  It
is not possible that both illustrations refer to the same specimen
because the figure legends clearly indicate they are from different
samples. The suggestion that Anker Petersen would have added palps to a
posterior end is preposterous. Although good illustrators will embellish
their illustrations (Mr. Petersen certainly did and I do it myself), I am
quite confident that Mr. Petersen would not have taken such liberties as
adding critical structures where they did not exist. It is more than
likely that there is another species involved. In addition to the 20 new
taxa reported in my 1996 Atlas cirratulid chapter, I can tell everyone
categorically that there are many more out there, especially in the genus

This issue however, raises something that puzzles me.  Why in a major
monograph on systematics and phylogeny where so much effort has been
expended to define characters and to develop an excellent database has
there been no effort to update the obsolete names used on some of the
illustrations?  The use of Tharyx instead of Aphelochaeta is but one
example of several.

Greg and Kristian have certainly given us a lot to stew about and I
suspect that the silence Geoff has noted will soon end.  


Jim Blake
(jablake at ix.netcom.com)

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