[Annelida] Capitella, finale

Sergio Salazar savs551216 at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 5 14:54:58 EST 2006

Dear Geoff,

Hi! It seems that this last message did not reach Annelida discussion group. 
Please take a look at it and tell me if you find it relevant and if so, 
please forward it to the list.

Best wishes,

. . . .

Dear folks,

This is my last message on Capitella, I promise!

In their contribution to the Copenhagen Polychaete Conference, Wu, Qian & 
Zhang (1991 Ophelia Suppl. 5:391-400) reported their studies on the 
morphology, reproduction, ecology and allozymes of three Capitella from 
Qingdao. From their table 2 (p. 393), four features seem promising: 
prostomial surface (smooth vs papillate), number of genital spines in 
chaetiger 8, number of hooded hooks per abdominal rami, and number of 
accessory teeth in hooded hooks.

In their discussion (p. 399) they stated: “Wu (1964) compared 9 subspecies 
of Capitella capitata collected from different parts of the world and 
suggested that differentiation of these subspecies was not just due to the 
geographic isolation but might be the result of a complicated evolutionary 
process.”  The key paper to understand this perspective is:

Wu BL 1964 Subspecific differentiation and ecological characteristics of 
Capitella capitata (Fabricius, 1780) (Polychaeta, Capitellidae). Oceanologia 
et Limnologia Sinica 6:266-271.

It would be very helpful if someone could make a pdf of the original, which 
is fast, and an English translation of the text, which may not be that fast, 
so his conclusions can be understood by any non-Chinese speaking person. I 
think Baoling Wu was following Olga Hartman, but I may be wrong.

Olga Hartman (1947 Allan Hancock Pac. Exped. 10:391-481) made a diagram to 
capitellid genera (that Amaral, Gillet, and Piltz i.a. have followed), and 
included a key to Western species of Capitella with C. capitata, C. dizonata 
Johnson, 1901 (Washington), and described C. ovincola (California) from a 
squid egg mass.

For the catalogue (Hartman, 1959:439-440) besides C. capitata, she included:
C.c. antarctica Monro, 1930
C.c. belgica Czerniavsky, 1881 (=C. c.),
C.c. danica Czerniavsky, 1881 (= C. c.),
C.c. floridana Hartman, 1959,
C.c. hebridarum Czerniavsky, 1881 (= C.c.),
C.c. neapolitana Czerniavsky, 1881 (= C. c.),
C.c. suchumica Czerniavsky, 1881 (Black Sea) (= C.c.)
C.c. ovincola Hartman, 1947.

For the supplement (Hartman, 1965:64) she added:

C.c. europaea Wu, 1964 (Mediterranean Sea, perhaps = C.c. neapolitana, 
C.c. japonica Kitamori, 1960,
C.c. oculata Hartman, 1961 (California), and
C.c. tripartita Hartman, 1961 (California).

Linda Warren (1976:197; sorry no pdf because my photocopy is in very poor 
quality) included a comparative diagram to the two subspecies (C.c. capitata 
and C. c. floridana), and seven others were regarded as full valid species:

C. aberranta Hartman & Fauchald, 1971
C. giardi (Mesnil, 1897) France
C. hermaphrodita Boletzky & Dohle, 1967 (Mediterranean, Loligo egg mass)
C. jonesi (Hartman, 1959) Florida.
C. ovincola Hartman, 1947,
C. perarmata (Gravier 1911) (not stated but it might include C.c. 
antarctica), and
C. tripartita Hartman, 1961.

Linda did not recognize most subspecies because they were regarded as 
juveniles, or as morphological variants that might fall within the stem 
species. Further, she regarded several species as having a wide or very wide 

This perspective was significantly modified when together with David George 
(1986 Bull. Brit. Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. 50:117-125), they described C. 
caribaeorum from the Grand Caribbean region (Florida to Saint-Lucia). For 
the discussion, they relied on several morphological differences such as the 
presence of genital spines, the thorax chaetal formula, the number of hooded 
hooks per ramus, and the relative egg size. Further, they also included some 
ecological details about the type of substrate where the similar species 
were recorded from.

Thus, taking the latter approach, together with the ideas that Wu et al and 
Blake proposed, there is an exciting ground to study the morphological 
variation in the same region, and between different populations or species. 
Good luck everyone! Have fun,


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