[Annelida] Capitella - and the Arctic Station

Mary E. Petersen mepetersen at maine.edu
Tue Jul 4 20:44:02 EST 2006

I meant to comment on the lab Kristian is referring to. This is the Arctic
Station of the University of Copenhagen. It is situated at the eastern edge
of Qeqertarsuaq/Godhavn (69o15'N, 53o34'W), on the southern side of Disko
Island, about 2/3 of the way up the west coast of Greenland, north of the
Arctic Circle. 

See www.abc.net.au/science/greenland/maps.htm for a set of 4 related maps:
Disko Island, showing the location of Qeqartartarsuaq/Godhavn and the Arctic
Station; NW Greenland, Denmark, and Europe.

There are a number of collections from the Disko area in the Zoological
Museum in Copenhagen, but I have purposely not considered using this
material for types because I did not want to risk getting a similar but
distinct species that did not occur in the area studied by Fabricius. As I
mentioned earlier, the Ikka Fjord is a closer locality, but because of the
very fragile nature of the ikaite columns, which appear to be known only
from the Ikka Fjord, only very limited collecting has been done here.

According to Godtfred Høpner Petersen, ZMUC, who has also spent a lot of
time in Greenland, both as Director of the Arctic Station and working
farther south, including in the Ikka Fjord, the area around Frederikshaab
drops off very abruptly, with very little intertidal area. However, there
must be some intertidal areas or Fabricius would have had problems, and his
habitat descriptions (e.g., sand under stones) also indicate intertidal

While it is common courtesy to try to avoid duplicating what someone else is
known to be doing, I do not think people should stop describing what appear
to be new species just because a type species has not yet been redescribed.
Moreover, for species where many very similar species appear to be involved,
as with Capitella capitata, if at all possible I think molecular sequencing
should be part of the description, or if in a related paper published later,
be based on one or more of the paratypes.


Dr. Mary E. Petersen
Scholar in Residence, Polychaeta
Darling Marine Center, University of Maine
193 Clark's Cove Road
Walpole, ME 04573-3307, USA

E-mail: mepetersen at maine.edu
Tel. DMC: +1-207-563-3146 x 222
Fax DMC: +1-207-563-3119
www.dmc.maine.edu/wormsinfo.html - info for IPC-9

-----Original Message-----
From: annelida-bounces at oat.bio.indiana.edu
[mailto:annelida-bounces at oat.bio.indiana.edu] On Behalf Of Kristian Fauchald
Sent: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:45 AM
To: annelida at magpie.bio.indiana.edu; rouse.greg at saugov.sa.gov.au
Subject: RE: [Annelida] Capitella

I believe the Danes may have material from at or near the type locality; and
I seem to remember that at least some years ago Reinhardt Christensen used
to go to a lab up there, not the exact locality, but certainly better than
material from boreal or subtropical regions.  It would require a fair bit of
collaboration from a lot of people, but, and I believe this is important, in
order to make this stick, we would need fresh specimens from at or near the
type locality.  Now, of course the climate up there is no longer what it was
when Fabricius was running around there at the end of the Little Iceage, but
that is something we would have to chance!

Kristian Fauchald

Kristian Fauchald, Research Zoologist
Department of Zoology
NMNH, Smithsonian Institution
P.O.Box 37012, 
NHB MRC 0163
Washington, DC 20013-7012
phone: 202.633.1777
fax 202.357.3043
fax: 202.357.3043

>>> "Rouse, Greg (SAM)" <rouse.greg at saugov.sa.gov.au> 06/27/06 10:04 PM >>>
Unless I am mistaken, the type locality for Capitella capitata Fabricius
1780 is Greenland (and a not easily accessible part of Greenland at that).
There is no existing type material, so fixing C. capitata, and arguably
other names for this 'complex', depends on recollecting from the type
locality and seeing what kind (or kinds) of Capitella occur there and then
fixing the name to a neotype; thats if one is fan of types of
course...(thanks ICZN). I presume this would have been done long ago, except
for the difficult naure of the type locality.....

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