Phil Smith wrote about Capitella

Peter Olive p.j.w.olive at
Tue Oct 5 16:42:43 EST 1999

Dear all

I have been reading with interest (and some concern) the correspondance 
re Capitella.  Phil Smith wrote about small but sexually mature Capitella 
cmplx in British waters.  

Some time ago I began to get involved with this looking at sexual maturity in 
populations of Capitella in the R Tyne.  My research student Son Ling 
Zhang obtained excellent data showing that in the R Tyne there were at 
least two reproductive forms of the Capitella complex.  A smaller one 
(length at maturity less than 10mm which had the larger eggs and non-
pelagic larvae and a larger one length at maturity about 20 to  50 mm) with 
smaller eggs, pelagic larvae.  I also got good SEMs of the larvae which 
differed substantially in the length and pattern of ciliation.  Son Lin Zhang 
tried to distinguish them by patterns of chaetal distribution in relation to 
other size parameters.  I was not convinced that it was really possible 
though I have no doubt about the existence of two reproductive types 
(=species?) and have not therefore published this data.  Unfortunately a 
little later  a description was published in Chinese with a rather horrid name 
that is a nomen nudem (if that is the correct term).   I still have the original 
data and the SEMs of the larvae.  I would be glad to share these with others 
trying to make sense of breeding populations of Capitella cmplx in the UK.  
I do not want to get drawn into the naming of species - not my forte.  

Good luck to all engaged in this
Peter Olive

<p.j.w.olive at>

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