Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

Taxonomic revision and phylogenetic relationships of apomorphic sabellids (Polychaeta) from Australia

María Capa

Marine Invertebrates, Aquatic Zoology, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia. Email:,

Invertebrate Systematics 21(5) 537-567
Submitted: 25 January 2007  Accepted: 31 August 2007   Published: 7 November 2007


Knowledge about the diversity and distribution of Australian coastal sabellids (Polychaeta) is still scarce. Examination of specimens housed in museum collections has increased the number of species recorded in Australia and helped to clarify the relationships among certain taxa of Sabellidae. Australian specimens belonging to a group of genera considered the most derived of the Sabellidae were the subject of this taxonomic revision, resulting in the description of five new species in four genera (Laonome calida, sp. nov.; Perkinsiana anodina, sp. nov.; P. longa, sp. nov.; Potaspina australiensis, sp. nov.; and Pseudopotamilla monoculata, sp. nov.). In addition, this is the first record of Potaspina Hartman, 1969 and Perkinsiana Knight-Jones, 1983 in Australia. A phylogenetic analysis of these and other apomorphic sabellids revealed their evolutionary relationships and supported the monophyly of most genera with the exception of Perkinsiana and Pseudopotamilla Bush, 1905. Some characters not considered in previous cladistic analyses were proven useful in elucidating relationships within Sabellidae. The diagnoses of Perkinsiana, Potaspina and Pseudopotamilla were emended. A dichotomous key is presented for identification of Australian apomorphic sabellids.


Augener H. (1924). Papers from Dr Th Mortensen’s Pacific Expedition 1914–1916. No 18. Polychaeta II. Polychaeten von Neuseeland 1. Errantia. Videnskabehge Meddelelser fra Dansk naturhistorisk Forenig i Kobenhavn 5, 241–441.

Banse K. Hobson K. D. 1968 Benthic errantiate polychaetes of British Columbia and Washington. Bulletin of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 185 1 111

Bush K. J. 1905 Tubicolous annelids of the tribes Sabellides and Serpulides from the Pacific Ocean. Harriman Alaskan Expedition 12 169 355

Capa M. in press Phylogenetic relationships within Bispira Krøyer, 1856 and Stylomma Knight-Jones, 1997 (Polychaeta, Sabellidae) and description of new species from Australia. Hydrobiologia

Capa M. Rouse G. W. 2007 Phylogenetic relationships within Amphiglena Claparède, 1864 (Polychaeta: Sabellidae), description of five new species from Australia, a new species from Japan and comments on previously described species. Journal of Natural History 41 327 356

Cochrane S. J. 2003 Snowflakes and feather-dusters – some challenges for soft-bottom fanworms systematics. Hydrobiologia 496 49 62

Dallwitz M. J., Paine T. A., and Zurcher E. J. (2000). DELTA for windows, version 1.04. Available at [Verified September 2007].

Ehlers E. 1904 Neuseeländische Anneliden. Abhandlungen der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Mathematisch-Physikalische Klasse. Neue Folge 3 1 80

Fitzhugh K. 1989 A systematic revision of the Sabellidae–Caobangiidae–Sabellongidae complex (Annelida: Polychaeta). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 192 1 104

Fitzhugh K. 2002 Fan worm polychaetes (Sabellidae: Sabellinae) collected during the Thai–Danish Bioshelf Project. Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publication 24 353 424

Fitzhugh K. 2003 A new species of Megalomma Johansson, 1927 (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) from Taiwan, with comments on sabellid dorsal lip classification. Zoological Studies 42 106 134

Fitzhugh K. Rouse G. W. 1999 A remarkable new genus and species of fan worm (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) associated with marine gastropods. Invertebrate Biology 118 357 390

Giangrande A. Gambi M. C. 1997 The genus Perkinsiana (Polychaeta, Sabellidae) from Antarctica, with descriptions of the new species P. milae and P. borsibrunoi. Zoologica Scripta 26 267 278

Goloboff P. (1993). NONA (a bastard son of Pee-Wee). Version. 2.0. Available at [Verified September 2007].

Grube A. E. (1878). Annulata Semperiana. Beiträge zur kenntniss der annelidenfauna der Philippinen nach den von Herrn Prof. Semper mitgebrachten sammlungen. Memoires l’Académie Impériale des Sciences de St. Petersbourg 25, 1–300.

Hartman O. 1938 Annotated list of the types of polychaetous annelids in the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy. Bulletin of Museum of Comparative Zoölogy 85 3 27

Hartman O. (1969). ‘Atlas of the Sedentariate Polychaetous Annelids from California.’ (Allan Hancock Foundation, University of Southern California: Los Angeles, CA, USA.)

Hsieh H. L. 1995 Laonome albicingillum, a new fan worm species (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) from Taiwan. Proceedings. Biological Society of Washington 108 130 135

Hutchings P. A., and Johnson R. (2003). Checklist of Australian Sabellidae (Polychaeta). In ‘Polychaetes: An Interactive Identification Guide’. (Eds R. S. Wilson, P. A. Hutchings and C. J. Glasby.) (CD-ROM) (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne, Australia.)

Hutchings P. A. Murray A. 1984 Taxonomy of polychaetes from the Hawkesbury River and the southern estuaries of New South Wales, Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 3 Supplement 1 118

Imajima M. Hartman O. 1964 The polychaeatous annelids of Japan. Part II. Allan Hancock Foundation Ocational Paper 26 1 452

Johansson K. E. (1927). Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Polychaeten-Familien Hermellidae, Sabellidae und Serpulidae. Zoologiska Bidrag från Uppsala 11, 1–184.

Knight-Jones P. 1983 Contributions to the taxonomy of Sabellidae (Polychaeta). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 79 246 295

Knight-Jones P. Giangrande A. 2003 Two new species of an atypical group of Pseudobranchiomma Jones (Polychaeta: Sabellidae). Hydrobiologia 496 95 103 DOI

Knight-Jones P. Mackie A. S. Y. 2003 A revision of Sabellastarte (Polychaeta: Sabellidae). Journal of Natural History 37 2269 2301 DOI

Knox G. A. 1951 The polychaetous annelids of Banks Peninsula. Pt. II. A rock bottom fauna from 80 fathoms. Records of the Canterbury Museum 6 61 81

Moore J. P. 1905 Five new species of Pseudopotamilla from the Pacific coast of North America. Proceedings. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 57 555 570

Murray A. Rouse G. W. 2007 Two new species of Terebrasabella (Annelida: Sabellidae) from Australia. Zootaxa 1434 51 68

Nixon K. C. (2002). WinClada. Version 1.00.08. Available at [Verified September 2007].

Nogueira J. M. M. López E. Rossi M. C. S. 2004 Kirkia heterobranchiata, a new genus and species of extratubular brooding sabellid (Polychaeta: Sabellidae) from São Paulo, Brazil. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 84 701 710

Page R. (1998). Nexus Data editor. Available at [Verified September 2007]

Patti F. P. Gambi M. C. Giangrande A. 2003 Preliminary study on the systematic relationship of Sabellinae (Polychaeta, Sabellidae), based on the C1 domain of the 28S rDNA, with discussion of reproductive markers. The Italian Journal of Zoology 70 269 278

Perkins T. H. 1984 Revision of Demonax Kinberg, Hypsicomus Grube and Notaulax Tauber, with a review of Megalomma Johansson from Florida (Polychaeta: Sabellidae). Proceedings. Biological Society of Washington 97 285 368

Rouse G. W. 1993 Amphiglena terebro sp. nov. (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) from eastern Australia; including a description of larval development and sperm ultrastructure. Ophelia 37 1 18

Rouse G. W. 1996 A new species of Perkinsiana (Sabellidae, Polychaeta) from Papua New Guinea; with a description of larval development. Ophelia 45 101 114

Rouse G. W. Fitzhugh K. 1994 Broadcasting fables: Is external fertilization really primitive? Sex, size, and larvae in sabellid polychaetes. Zoologica Scripta 23 271 312

Rouse G. W., and Pleijel F. (2001). ‘Polychaetes.’ (Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.)

Tovar-Hernández A. M. Salazar-Vallejo S. I. 2006 Sabellids (Polychaeta: Sabellidae) from the Grand Caribbean. Zoological Studies 45 24 66

Zvyagintsev A. Y. 2003 Introduction of species into the Northwestern Sea of Japan and the problem of marine fouling. Journal of the Russian Journal of Marine Biology 29 10 21

Export Citation Cited By (10)