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Magelona mirabilis

Andrew.Mackie at nmgw.ac.uk Andrew.Mackie at nmgw.ac.uk
Tue Mar 17 13:18:11 EST 1998

Kristian is quite correct that Magelona mirabilis cannot be used for 
previous European descriptions of "M. papillicornis".

There are in fact two morphologically similar species present in UK
waters which could both be identified as "M. papillicornis" using
available European keys. I had discussed this with Meredith Jones, but
alas he never completed his work on the problem. Together with Peter
Garwood I have (p. 42) outlined the problem and the most obvious
distinguishing features of the two species (labelled Magelona sp. A &
Magelona sp. B) in:  Mackie, A.S.Y., Rees, E.I.S. & Oliver, P.G. 1995.
Benthic Biodiversity in the Southern Irish Sea.- Studies in Marine
Biodiversity and Systematics from the National Museum of Wales. BIOMOR
Reports, 1: 263pp.  [ISBN 0 7200 0427 6] This is available from NMW for
28 UK pounds (incl. P&P)! 

Getting back to M. mirabilis. There are several other complications 
with the species. As far as I know type material does not exist and 
although Johnston mentions Plate XXII in his description I have 
never seen a copy of his Catalogue with this present.

Coincidently, next week I am visiting Johnston's home town of
Berwick-upon-Tweed with Fredrik Pleijel,  Susan Chambers and our
assistants. The aim of this fieldtrip is to try and collect topotypic
material of certain of Johnston's species which now present us with
taxonomic difficulties. Hopefully such material will enable us to resolve
some of the problems presented by species such as Maea mirabilis.

Unfortunately finding "Maea mirabilis" is perhaps not going to be too
helpful. First, Johnston did not collect the worm himself! Instead it was
given to him by Dr Greville "who does not remember the locality in which it
was found" (Johnston, p. 278). Secondly, it is possible 2 species might be

Regards,  Andy Mackie

Dr. Andrew S.Y. Mackie
Marine Biodiversity Section
Department of Biodiversity
 and Systematic Biology (BioSyB)
National Museum of Wales
Cathays Park
Cardiff CF1 3NP

Tel: int +44 (0)1222 573 311
Fax: int +44 (0)1222 239 009
E-mail: Andrew.Mackie at nmgw.ac.uk

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