Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

Phylogenetic relationships within Nereididae (Annelida : Phyllodocida)

Cinthya S. G. Santos A , Fredrik Pleijel B , Paulo Lana A and Greg W. Rouse C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centro de Estudos do Mar, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Caixa Postal 50002, Pontal do Sul, Pontal do Paraná, 83255-000, Paraná, Brasil.

B Department of Marine Ecology, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Göteborg University, SE-452 96 Strömstad, Sweden, and Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Département Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 7138, ‘Systématique, Adaptation, Evolution’, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France.

C South Australian Museum Nth Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000 and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Invertebrate Systematics 19(6) 557-576
Submitted: 19 January 2005  Accepted: 25 September 2005   Published: 16 January 2006


Nereididae Johnston, 1865, part of the large clade Phyllodocida, is one of the best-known annelid groups. Presently, there are some 500 nominal species grouped into 42 genera, although there is little consensus among different authors as to how they should be classified. The relationships of nereidids were assessed in a morphology-based parsimony analysis of 41 terminal taxa, with members of Chrysopetalidae and Hesionidae used as outgroups. Type species for the majority of currently recognised nereidid genera were used as terminal taxa, and character information was based on examination of type and non-type specimens, together with literature descriptions. High degrees of homoplasy were found for several features that are traditionally applied to delineate subgroups of Nereididae, including the presence of paragnaths and the distribution of different kinds of chaetae. Six major groups were recovered: Namanereidinae, including Namalycastis and Namanereis, characterised by spherical shape of palpostyles and ventrally displaced notoaciculae; one clade corresponding in part to previous authors concepts of Nereidinae, including Nereis, Eunereis, Hediste and Platynereis (the relationships of several well known nereidids, such as Neanthes and Perinereis, commonly referred to Nereidinae, could not be unambiguously resolved); one unnamed and not previously recognised clade (A), including Australonereis, Laeonereis, Dendronereides and Olganereis, characterised by the presence of papillae on the maxillary ring; a second unnamed clade (B), including Leptonereis, Sinonereis, Tylonereis and Tylorrhynchus, characterised by enlarged notopodial ligulae; a well supported Gymnonereidinae, restricted to Ceratocephale, Gymnonereis, Tambalagamia and Micronereides; and a third unnamed clade (C), including Ceratonereis, Solomononereis, Unanereis, Cheilonereis and Websterinereis, characterised by unilobated neuropodial postchaetal lobes. Among these groups we found good support for the Namanereidinae, the Gymnonereidinae and for the whole of Nereididae. The subfamilies Dendronereidinae and Notophycinae (based on Micronereis, senior synonym of Notophycus) are regarded here as monotypic.


Danny Eibye-Jacobsen, Robin Wilson and Chris Glasby are gratefully acknowledged for comments on previous versions of the manuscript. CS wishes to thank CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, no. BEX0487/99-6) and CNPQ (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, no. 142013/1997-8) for financial support. FP was supported by Formas, dnr 2004-0085, and GWR by the Australian Research Council and South Australian Museum.


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