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[Annelida] devonian "spirorbids

H.A. ten Hove via annelida%40net.bio.net (by hove At science.uva.nl)
Sat Nov 4 06:11:25 EST 2006

Dear all, especially Kirk,

>>I attended a very nice seminar today, given by 
>>Dr. Paul Taylor (Natural History Museum, 
>>London), suggesting that so-called spirorbid 
>>tube fossils from the Devonian-Triassic might 
>>actually have been produced by a 
>>lophophorate.  Based on tube structures, it 
>>appears that spirorbids did not appear until 
>>the Cretaceous, rather than extending back into 
>>the Paleozoic. The paper upon which Paul's talk was based is:
>>Taylor, P.D. & O. Vinn.  2006.  Convergent 
>>morphology in small spiral worm tubes 
>>('Spirorbis') and its palaeoenvironmental 
>>implications.  Journal of the Geological Society, London, 163: 225-228.

Good to draw attention once more to a question 
which has been around for a number of decades. In 
my recollection, the discussion started during a 
symposium in 1975 (G. Larwood & B.R. Rosen (eds), 
1979.- Biology and systematics of colonial 
organisms. Syst. Ass. Spec. Vol. 11, xxxv + 589 
pp., ills.), where Burchette & Riding mentioned 
the mass-occurrence of some strange "Serpula" and 
"Spirorbids" from the Paleozoic and asked my 
opinion on these forms (Burchette, T.P., & R. 
Riding, 1977.- Attached vermiform gastropods in 
carboniferous marginal marine stromatolites and 
biostromes. Lethaia 10: 17-28, 8 figs.). I 
touched upon it briefly in 1993, having 
corresponded about the problem with Weedon for 
some years. (Hove, H.A. ten, & P. van den Hurk, 
1993.- A review of Recent and fossil serpulid 
"reefs"; actuopaleontology and the 'Upper Malm' 
serpulid limestones in NW Germany. Geol. Mijnbouw 
72: 23-67, 12 figs, 5 tabs.; Weedon, M.J., 1994.- 
Tube microstructure of Recent and Jurassic 
serpulid polychaetes and the question of the 
Palaeozoic "spirorbids". Acta Palaeontologica 
Polonica 39 (1): 1-15). The "phylial" affiliation 
remained questionable, and apparently there is 
some new light on that now. Must shamefully admit 
that I missed the lophoporate connection in scanning Taylor & Vinn.

Indeed the earliest reliable serpulid 
identifications as far as I know are from the 
Jurassic, and I would not be too surprised if the 
spirorbids appeared in the Cretaceous only, 
although the most recent phylogenies confirm that 
spirorbids are an ingroup of Serpulidae (e.g. 
E.K. Kupriyanova et al, 2006.- Phylogenetic 
relationships within Serpulidae (Sabellida, 
Annelida) inferred from molecular and 
morphological data. Zoologica Scripta, 35, 5, 
September 2006, pp.421–439), making a Jurassic 
age of spirorbid forms not unlikely.

By the way, more on tube ultrastructure of worms, 
especially serpulids, is in the making.


dr. Harry A. ten Hove
Zoological Museum
University of Amsterdam
Mauritskade 57
P.O.B. 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam
the Netherlands
hove At science.uva.nl

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