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Tharyx illustration and names

judy A Fournier 110275.1004 at compuserve.com
Tue Mar 10 10:04:24 EST 1998


Dear Annelidans,

This is getting to be an interesting debate.  Yes, Hartman did cut corners
and did describe a lot  of new species with somewhat less than adequate
control.  I found it prudent to check the type specimens of any species
she wrote up after 1965 and, like others, found they did not quite match
the descriptions, especially when checking the type-series.

        There is also one key in her 1969 Atlas of the Sedentaria with this
charming couplet:

        "Large worms, over 15 mm long..................................
species A
        Short worms, less than 15 mm long .............................
species B."

        I don't have it here right now but I believe it referred to
Aricidea.  

       The bottom line is: don't take Hartman's descriptions too 
literally.  We still don't understand and still don't have enough 
documentation on how most polychaetes grow and change as they mature.  In 
time, we will undoubtedly determine that some "species" are juveniles or 
immatures of other species,  and we will be able to document and 
illustrate the variation within species due to environmental and other 
factors  (eg: the influence of salinity on setal structure in some 
nereids.)   There's a lot of work still to be done. 

Judy Fournier
110275.1004 at compuserve. com

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