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Nereis (Neanthes) acuminata = Nereis (Neanthes) arenaceodonta....which is it?

Torkild Bakken torkild.bakken at vm.ntnu.no
Wed Oct 16 14:16:59 EST 2002

According to current usage of genera diagnosis, Nereis includes species 
possessing notopodial homogomph falcigers while species in Neanthes do 
not. The answer to Stan Bosarge's questions should be Neanthes 
arenaceodentata. Having said that, chaetal and parapopodial characters in 
nereidids are highly homoplastic. Robin Wilson and I are in the middle of a 
phylogenetic analysis of nereidids with paragnaths where we will have a 
closer look at this. It is known that most larger genera in Nereidinae are 
heterogeneous, and earlier phylogenetic analyses (e.g. Fitzhugh 1987) give 
no support for treating Neanthes, Hediste, Ceratonereis etc. as subgenera of 

The species in question, N. arenaceodentata and N. acuminata are very 
similar to N. cricognatha and N. caudata, and has often been treated under 
one name in the literature. I am currently doing a revision of Neanthes, but 
have only examined a few specimens of these species. Specimens labelled 
N. acuminata from North Carolina in the collections of the USNM was 
identical to N. arenaceodentata from Massachusetts (type locality). 
Specimens of N. cricognatha (type locality New Zealand) from Australia are 
similar but differ in paragnath numbers. N. caudata is described from the 
Mediterranean, as is N. acuminata Ehlers(?). They obviously belong to a 
group of morphological very similar taxa, or a complex as Tom Parker said. I 
would not drop the usage of any of these names until type material or 
topotypic material is examined. It would be very interesting to investigate this 
further using molecular analyses. I am very interested in material of these 
species (under any name), both for morphological and molecular studies.  

Torkild Bakken
<torkild.bakken at vm.ntnu.no>

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