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Sipuncula/Echiura Newsletter #3

Edward Cutler ebcutler at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 30 15:27:28 EST 2004

Sipuncula / Echiura Online Newsletter #3		June 2004
*For those you you worm folks who might be interested, e.c.

  Compiled by Edward B. Cutler

Another year has past and while not everyone has responded to my invitation 
most have done so. If any of you have corrections or addition, or if those of 
you who did not respond to me, now wish to share some news – please use your 
‘Reply to all’ option. What was a ‘sneak preview’ last year is now in full 
view – lower Cambrian sipunculan fossils from China. Another carryover theme 
is the collaboration that has continued among our ‘family’ members plus the 
sharing of our intellectual resources with others – both are healthy signs of 
our struggle for survival as a knowledge-based community. Additionally through 
the efforts of Anja and Gisele, there is the beginnings of a significant 
library of digital photographs of these worms, which can more easily be shared 
via cyberspace.  

? Kotor Symposium 2 ?

In 1970 a group of biologist gathered in Kotor, Yugoslavia for a week long 
International Symposium on the Biology of Sipuncula and Echiura that was 
organized by Mary Rice. During Gisele’s recent visit , she proposed that we 
consider a second such gathering in Brazil in 2005.  She suggested that the 
marine lab at Sao Sebastiao would be a good  location with appropriate 
facilities for up to 30 persons. At this time this is, of course, only an 
idea. But, she has asked me to use this means to get some feedback on your 
interest level. So, please let Gisele know of your interest in such an idea – 
whether it is high, medium, or low – or 0. Any comments about content, 
duration, need for subsidy, etc. would be welcome.    Gisele Yukimi Kawauchi 
[ykawauch at usp.br]  


Europe / British Isles
Ukraine: Galena Vantsetti Murina  -  [murina at ibss.iuf.net]

She writes that 2003 and the first part of 2004 were unfavorable for her 
Sipuncula investigations.  She has only a small Vietnam collection (see 
below). She sent the list of species to Dr. Temir Britaev  (a Polychaete 
specialist   from   Moscow Institute of Morphology and Embryology). Temir 
answered her that he and his colleagues received a new collection of Vietnam 
sipunculan and in his opinion it is better to include this new material in her 
future paper. On 21 June she left for a two-week trip to Moscow to receive 
this new material for identification.  

Her small paper  "Finding of marine worms Sipuncula and Echiura on the site of
"Titanic” wreck” will be published in the Ukrainian journal  "Vestnik zoology"
(in Russian) in the near future (see below).

Her new Turkish pupil Sermin Acik continues to identify Sipuncula from Cyprus. 
 She measures Cyprus material and hopes to determine some important   metric   
characters   of the Onchnesoma steenstrupii steenstrupii, Aspidosiphon    
muelleri    muelleri, Aspidosiphon muelleri kovalevskii such as length of 
trunk, introvert, diameter of eggs etc. Galena has also been in collaboration 
with a biologist from Canada: Arthur Anker <aanker at ualberta.ca>. He asked for 
help identifying ECHIURA from Venezuela. Preliminary identification was 
Ochetostoma erythrogrammon.  She asked Teruaki Nishikawa for help in the 
identification of these worms.  

List of Sipuncula species from the coastal waters of South China Sea 
(Njachang, Vietnam), sampled in 2003 by Prof. Britaev’s groups. Aspidosiphon 
muelleri kovalevskii, Aspidosiphon mexicanus, Aspidosiphon elegans, Apionsoma 
trichocephalus, Apionsoma murinae, Sipunculus nudus, Sipunculus sp. Golfingia 
elongata, Golfingia SP, Thysanocardia catharinae Remark. Two species 
Aspidosiphon mexicanus (Murina, 1967), Apionsoma murinae Cutler, 1969; and one 
subspecies Aspidosiphon muelleri kovalevskii Murina, 1964 are new for South 
China Sea. 

Finding of marine worms Sipuncula and Echiura on the site of “Titanic” wreck 
V.V. Murina.  The small material (24 sipunculans and 1 echiuran) was collected 
in North-West of Atlantic from 3 deep-sea stations during the 46th cruise of 
r/v “ Akademic Mstislav Keldysh”. Four species of sipunculans and one species 
of echiuran were identified. The description of Alomasoma chaetiferum was 
added by new morphological signs.  

Russia: Taras B.Morozov  -  [tmorozov at marbio.dvgu.ru]

Neither Murina nor I have heard from him during the past year, but today he 
did respond with:Now I write PhD-dissertation: "Comparative morphology and 
ultrastructure of nephridia in Sipuncula".  

 I look forward to hearing more details about this project.

Spain: J. I. Saiz-Salinas  -  [zopsasaj at lgdx04.lg.ehu.es]

The ‘Old and the New’ might be the theme for Inyaki this past year. His 
collaboration with his Chinese colleagues on the Cambrian sipunculans (old) 
has been accepted (see elsewhere) and he spent 3 weeks in Brazil helping 
Gisele (new) develop more confidence working with those small Nephasoma, and 
other Brazilian taxa. Inyaki will be presenting a talk at the Polychaete 
Conference in Madrid this July about an unusual bonelliid with bundles of 
logitudinal musculature.  

Norway: Christoffer Schander  -  christoffer.schander at bio.uib.no

His news is that he has recently taken a new position at the University of 
Bergen. Bergen has a good field station and ships that will be very useful for 
future collection. Please also note the new e-mail address below. Christoffer 
Schander,  Professor, Marine Biodiversity University of Bergen,  Department of 
Biology (IFM) Postbox 7800,  NO-5020 Bergen,  NORWAY  

Denmark: Jorgen Hylleberg  -  [hylleberg at biology.au.dk]

His wife Karen has taken on more administrative/communication roles for Jorgen 
and tells us that he is entirely working at home at the moment checking and 
finishing his "Lexical Approach to Cardiacea", 3 volumes. The first volume is 
already finished but not sent out yet. The next two volumes should be ready to 
send to the printer hopefully within 10 days. PMBC (the lab in Phuket, 
Thailand) is at the moment a confusing place. They were there in mid April. 
The lab will –she is sure -- go back to normal again. The reason is that PMBC 
was transferred to a new ministry, so PMBC got also a lot of new jobs.  
Jorgen’s important collection of Sipuncula awaits him there.  

England – no word from Peter Gibbs, seems to be fully retired.
Germany – no word from Rene Hessling for the past year.

South Africa: R. Biseswar  -  moodleygk at ukzn.ac.za

He has been occupied with identifying and describing deep-sea echiurans 
received through the courtesy of Joelle Galeron CENTOB, Brest, France. The 
specimens were collected during the BENGAL cruises during September 1996 and 
October 1998 in the Porcupine Abyssal Plain in the North-East Atlantic. 
Identification and descriptions of the specimens are almost complete and the 
publication in ZOOSYSTEMA is envisaged. *New contact details: R. Biseswar, 
Discipline: Zoology School of Biology,  Faculty of Science University of 
KwaZulu-Natal,  (Westville Campus) Private Bag X54001,  Durban, 4000, South 

Japan: Teruaki Nishikawa  -  [nishikawa at num.nagoya-u.ac.jp]

His primary focus continues to be the prochordate taxa, but his paper on the 
echiuran Listriolobus mentioned in last year’s Newsletter has just appeared: 
Nishikawa, T. 2004 Synonymy of the West-Pacific echiuran Listriolobus 
sorbillans (Echiura: Echiuridae), with taxonomic notes towards a generic 
revision.   Species Diversity, 9: 109-123 He and some colleagues at Kanagawa 
University are still working with the DNA successfully extracted from the 4 
putative species of Urechis and hope to complete that work in a few months. 
The data from the CO1 gene shows a high degree of similarity for all four, 
about 82-84% but unclear  branching patterns. Thus, additional genes will be 

China: Diying Huang   email: Huang Diying [chaton215 at yahoo.com]

This paper we hinted at last year – has been accepted by the Proc. Royal 
Society London and should be online in early July and as hard copy by late 
August. Early Cambrian sipunculan worms from southwest China Di-Ying Huang, 
Jun-Yuan Chen, Jean Vannier, J. I. Saiz Salinas. 
Abstract: We report the discovery of sipunculan worms from the Lower Cambrian 
Maotianshan Shale, near Kunming (southwest China). Their sipunculan identity 
is evidenced by the general morphology of the animals (sausage-shaped body 
with a slender retractable introvert and a wider trunk) and by other features, 
both external (e.g. perioral crown of tentacles; hooks, papillae and wrinkle 
rings on the body surface) and internal (U-shaped gut; and the anus opening 
near the introvert-trunk junction). The three fossil forms (Archaeogolfingia 
caudata gen. et sp. nov., Cambrosipunculus tentaculatus gen. et sp. nov. and 
C. sp.) have striking similarities with modern sipunculans, especially the 
Golfingiidae to which their evolutionary relationships are discussed. This 
study suggests that most typical features of recent sipunculans have undergone 
only limited changes since the Early Cambrian, thus indicating a possible 
evolutionary stasis over the past 520 Myr.  

He also has two recent papers on one of the old ‘Gephyrea’, the latest being: 
Geobios 37 (2004) 217–228 Recent Priapulidae and their Early Cambrian 
ancestors: comparisons and evolutionary significance.  Diying Huang, Jean 
Vannier, JunYuan Chen The same authors also published a second paper in 2004: 
Lethaia 37:25-33. Anatomy and life styles of early Cambrian priapulid worms 
exemplified by Corynetis and Anningbermis from the Maotianshan shale (SW 

India – no word from B. P. Haldar since last year.
India - Naveen Namboodiri
The last contact I had was last August. when he was working hard to meet a 
September deadline for his thesis.  In the coral communities of Great Nicobar 
he has many of the more common phascolosomatids and Aspidosiphonids, but that 
part of his work was unfinished.  

South/Central America / Caribbean
Cuba: Carlos Varela Perez  -  [cvarela at cim.co.cu]

His group is continuing a survey of the benthic community along the 
northwestern coast of Cuba that was begun in January, but has no sipunculan 
news. This will supplement collections made earlier from the central north 
coast.  There is a student working with the group who hopes to develop 
expertise with sipunculans and perhaps make them the subject of her thesis. We 
wish her well... Centro de Investigations Marinas, Universidad de La Habana 
Calle 16 #114 e/ 1ra y 3ra, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba Telefono (537) 
203-0617 http://www.uh.cu/centros/cim/index.htm  or 

Chile – no news from Eduardo Tarifeno since last year.

Brazil: Gisele Yukimi Kawauchi  -  [ykawauch at usp.br]

She writes: Last year I received an invitation from Dr Edward Cutler to go to 
USA and work in the MCZ collections. I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in 
June visiting the Natural History Museum of Harvard. It was a wonderful time 
because I had the opportunity to exchange ideas and clarify my doubts with Dr. 
Cutler and compared my material with specimens in that collection. 
Additionally, I met with Dr. Mary Rice and Dr. Anja Schulz at Fort Pierce. Now 
I am finishing my PhD at Sao Paulo University (under the guidance of Alvaro 
Migotto ) and thinking about my future. *Be sure to read her thought about a 
second Sipuncula symposium on p.1.  

North America
USA: Anja Schulze  -  schulze at sms.si.edu

Anja writes: At Harvard, I have accumulated a large database of sipunculan DNA 
sequences. I have sequenced five genes for over 60 species, some of them with 
multiple representatives from different parts of the world. Unless we have 
more taxa to add (e.g. Gisele got us a Sipunculus phalloides that we have not 
sequenced yet), I am hoping to finish the analysis, in combination with 
morphological data, this fall. In April I moved to Florida to work as a 
postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Marine Station for two years. My main 
project is the development of the nervous system, focusing on Nephasoma 
pellucidum. For that purpose, I use antibody stains in conjunction with 
confocal laser scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. So 
far, the larvae are doing well but I need to figure out what induces them to 
metamorphose, so I can follow the development to the juvenile stage. Mary and 
I are also working on our larval identification project. We are trying to 
identify planktonic sipunculan larvae using DNA sequence data and comparison 
with the adults. We have obtained some sequences from Lee Weigt at the 
Smithsonian Laboratory of Analytical Biology and want to add a few more. In 
December, we presented the results of our visit to Belize in the spring of 
2003 at the symposium "The Twin Cays Mangrove Ecosystem, Belize: Biodiversity, 
Geological History, and Two Decades of Change" in Fort Pierce, FL and recently 
submitted a short paper to the proceedings of this symposium in the Atoll 
Research Bulletin. This paper contains a key to the 14 species found in the 
vicinity of the Carrie Bow Cay field station that might also be useful for 
other Caribbean collections. *New contact info: Smithsonian Marine Station, 
701 Seaway Drive Fort Pierce, FL 34949, USA Phone: 772-465-6630 x 105  

USA: Mary Rice -   [rice at sms.si.edu]

She writes: This has been an exciting year for sipunculan biology at the 
Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS).  As you will see from Anja Schulze's report, 
we are collaborating on the identification of oceanic larvae through 
comparisons of adult and larval DNA sequence data, hoping to confirm and add 
to the information that I have accumulated over the years by studies of larval 
morphology and rearing in the laboratory.  With Anja now in residence at SMS 
as a postdoctoral fellow in the life histories program, the next two years 
promise to be a productive time for research on sipunculan development. She 
will be investigating questions of considerable phylogenetic and evolutionary 
interest concerning the development of the sipunculan nervous system. We were 
pleased to have a brief visit from Gisele Kawauchi, who stopped by SMS on her 
way to see Ed at Harvard.  We spent a great day immersed in discussions of 
sipunculans. We look forward to the completion of Gisele's dissertation on the 
systematics of the sipunculans of Brazil.  It will be a significant 
contribution to sipunculan systematics. I have been asked to compile a list of 
sipunculan species known from the Gulf of Mexico.  This is part of an updated 
survey on the biota of the Gulf of Mexico being sponsored by the Harte 
Institute and Texas A&M.  If anyone knows of sources that would help in this 
effort, please pass them on. I would be most grateful to receive any 

USA: Joseph Staton  -  [jstaton at gwm.sc.edu]

Joe has been immersed in a genetics project on crustacean toxicology this 
summer in Charleston and renovating his new house in Beaufort on weekends. He 
is hoping to free up some time next month to get back to other projects.  

USA: Harlan K. Dean  -  [hdean1 at mindspring.com]

He continues to collaborate with me as seen in our New Zealand report noted 
elsewhere even though his primary area of interest is the polychaetes 
especially those of Costa Rica. In his field work there last summer he 
collected a single specimen of Aspidosiphon albus Murina, 1967 from the 
Pacific side of Costa Rica, just off the tip of Punta Morales in about 10 
meters of water.  This is the first report of this species from the Pacific 
Ocean, previously known only from Cape Hatteras (USA) to Brazil in the western 
Atlantic.  This identification was independently verified by Gisele during her 
recent visit to Harvard.  

USA: Ed Cutler  -  ebcutler at earthlink.net

Comings and Goings might be my theme for the year. As you’ll read elsewhere 
Anja Schulze finished her two years with us here at Harvard in April and has 
relocated in warmer latitudes with Mary Rice. Towards the end of May Gisele 
Kawauchi was my guest here for two weeks using our collection as a cross-
reference with the 35 species she has in her Brazilian material. We spent many 
hours discussing morphological characters and their variations, among other 
things, and she made good use of the MCZ library (also saw a Red Sox game – 
Boston’s baseball team.). Two articles have been published this year – most of 
you have seen these: Cutler, E. B. & A. Schulze, 2004- SIPUNCULA FROM 
RECORD FROM THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. Bulletin of Marine Science 74(1):225-228. 
(abstract was in last year’s Newsletter) Cutler, E. B., A. Schulze & H. Dean. 
2004. The Sipuncula of sublittoral New Zealand, with a key to all New Zealand 
species. Zootaxa 525: 1–19 Both of these are available as pdf files. Four 
items submitted 2 or 3 years ago, are still ‘in press’ but might yet get 
published this year, and I still intend to prepare a formal proposal to move 
Phascolopsis from the Sipunculidae to the Golfingiidae. The monotypic genus 
Siphonomecus remains the single genus missing from our collective DNA database 
– but I do expect to obtain material from Florida later this year.  

Finally, in addition to my ever diminishing eyesight from Retinitus 
pigmentosa, plus Type 2 diabetes, I have recently been diagnosed with 
metastatic prostate cancer which is being ‘controlled’ using androgen 
depravation therapy.   -  Life Goes ON!  

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