[Annelida] Capitella, revisited

Kristian Fauchald FauchaldK at si.edu
Tue Jun 27 07:21:07 EST 2006


I agree:  we need to now what those taxa are;  I also understand the problem of naming them on strictly morphological grounds.  The morphological features used to describe capitellids are probably variable, but not necessarily always so, making descriptions a very dubious issue.  However, as Jim Blake pointed out, we do have the means at this point and with the staining patterns, if they can be shown to be linked to distinct molecular patterns, we may indeed have a relatively simple way of putting names on the innumerable capitelids found basically everywhere.  I want to support as strongly as I can, the idea of sorting out two or three of the most common Capitella and Mediomastus and perhaps linking whatever patterns one gets to geography or depth, or organic content in sediment or whatever.  Whoever did a good job on that, would deserve a collective gold star from the whole polychaete community and perhaps some money from the benthic ecologists!

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
>>> <jablake at ix.netcom.com> 06/26/06 6:25 PM >>>
Dear Sergio and others, 

Some months ago, Judy Grassle, Kevin Eckelbarger and I agreed to begin working on a description of at least one of the Capitella siblings from the eastern US and perhaps more as time progresses.  Who knows, maybe we can have a Poster at the next polychaete conference.

This effort is certainly not going to immediately provide faunal guides to everything, but it will be a start. 

There are numerous other problems with capitellids that need to be addressed.  In my 2000 Atlas chapter I pointed out that widespread populations of Mediomastus ambiseta and M. californiensis around North America could include multiple sibling species.  I have subsequently learned from Tim Morris, Leslie Harris, and Gene Ruff that different methyl green staining patterns are found in different populations suggesting that this assumption might be true.  Given that these "species" are very abundant where they occur and are often collected in monitoring surveys (i.e., Southern California; Massachusetts Bay; and elsewhere), it should be possible to assemble materials for both molecular and morphological analysis and possibly life history assessment from widespread populations. This would certainly be an exciting dissertation topic.
 
Jim

-----Original Message-----
>From: Sergio Salazar <savs551216 at hotmail.com>
>Sent: Jun 26, 2006 12:21 PM
>To: annelida at magpie.bio.indiana.edu
>Subject: [Annelida] Capitella, revisited
>
>Dear colleagues,
>
>During the last several years, our server has been working irregularly. 
>Sometimes we have even been put in black lists, such that our messages were 
>returned and several discussion groups cancelled us from any mailing lists. 
>This is the main reason why I started this alternate e-mailbox. Thus, the 
>previous 1999 discussion on Capitella was not in my files, nor in my mind. I 
>have visited our Annelida discussion files to have a better understanding of 
>the issue. Apologies for repeating the facts.
>
>It is now clear that the 1999 comments by Jim and Geoff remain unattended. 
>Thus, here we are, 7 yr after, still worried about the same issue. In fact, 
>Hartman in 1961, and then Wu in 1964, had found several useful morphological 
>differences to separate Capitella. It is somehow surprising that of the two 
>papers dealing with the genus, the one by the Grassle´s (1976 Science 
>192:567-569) has had a more widespread usage, in comparison with the one 
>made by Warren (J Zool 180:195-209). Anyway, backing Jim´s recommendation, I 
>have prepared a quick and dirty pdf of the critical pages about Capitella in 
>his 2000 chapter, which would be available upon request. Hope this is OK for 
>him.
>
>Luckily enough, there is a couple of enthusiastic young ladies now dealing 
>with capitellid taxonomy: Katerina in Greece working with Christos, Maria 
>Elena in Mexico working with Angel. Hope we can have a different panorama in 
>the near future. Have fun,
>
>Sergio
>
>
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