Australian Biological Resources Study

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Compiler and date details

October 2010 - ABRS

2010 - Updated by Pat A. Hutchings and Michelle Yerman


Classifications of polychaete annelids have previously grouped Serpulidae Latreille, 1825 (fan worms) with Sabellidae Latreille, 1825 (feather-duster worms), based on the shared presence of the tentacular crown, under such names as Serpulacea (Grube 1850; Malmgren 1866; Meyer 1888), Sabelliformia (Levinsen 1883; Benham 1896) and Serpulimorpha (Hatschek 1893; Hemplemann 1931; Uschakov 1955). Dales (1962) proposed that the serpulids and sabellids be grouped at the ordinal level as Sabellida and this name has subsequently been used most commonly (for example, Fauchald 1977; Pettibone 1982), although the membership and lower level classification within the order have been unstable.

The family Sabellariidae (sand-mason worms) was considered by Meyer (1888) and Hatschek (1893) to be the sister group to the sabellid/serpulid clade, but this view was subsequently ignored or rejected in most classifications (for example, Dales 1962; Fauchald 1977; Pettibone 1982). Dales (1962) argued that sabellariids are more closely related to spionid taxa than to members of Sabellida. He contended that the morphological features used to ally the sabellariids with Sabellida, such as an anterior pair of nephridia with a single opening and the presence of chaetal inversion were based on inaccurate observations. Orrhage (1980) has shown, however (see also Krishnan 1950), that sabellariids have separate exits for the anterior pair of nephridia, a situation also found in families such as Cirratulidae and Flabelligeridae. Dales (1952, 1962) stated correctly that the chaetal distribution found in sabellariids differs from that in sabellids and serpulids. Members of the latter two taxa have an anterior thoracic region with dorsal (notopodial) capillary or limbate (hooded, sensu Fitzhugh 1989) chaetae and ventral (neuropodial) uncini, whereas the abdominal region has the opposite arrangement of chaetae. Sabellariids have an anterior parathoracic region with capillary or limbate chaetae in both notopodia and neuropodia. The abdominal region has notopodial uncini and neuropodial capillary chaetae (Fauchald 1977). However, the occurrence of uncini in a notopodial position in the abdominal region is found only in these three families. This dorsal occurrence of uncini (chaetal inversion) was used by Knight-Jones (1981) to re-align the sabellariids with the sabellids and serpulids; Holthe (1986) subsequently placed the Sabellariidae Johnston, 1865 in the Sabellida.


General References

Benham, W.B. 1896. Archiannelida, Polychaeta, Myzostomaria. pp. 239-344 in Harmer, S.F. & Shipley, A.E. (eds). The Cambridge Natural History. London : Macmillan & Co.

Dales, R.P. 1952. The larval development and ecology of Thoracophelia mucronata (Treadwell). Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole) 102: 232-242

Dales, R.P. 1962. The polychaete stomatodeum and the inter-relationship of the families of the Polychaeta. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 139: 389-428

Fauchald, K. 1977. The polychaete worms. Definitions and keys to the orders, families and genera. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Science Series 28: 1-188

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

Grube, A.-E. 1850. Die Familien der Anneliden. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 16: 249-364

Hatschek, B. 1893. System der Anneliden, ein vorläufiger Bericht. Lotos. Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaften 13: 123-126

Hemplemann, F. 1931. Erste und zweite Klasse der Vermes Polymera (Annelida). Archiannelida und Polychaeta. pp. 1-112 in Kükenthal, W. & Krumbach, T. (eds). Handbich der Zoologie. Band 2, Teil 2 Leif 12 & 13. Berlin : W. de Gruyter & Co.

Holthe, T. 1986. Evolution, systematics, and distribution of the Polychaeta Terebellomorpha, with a catalogue of the taxa and a bibliography. Gunneria 55: 1-236

Knight-Jones, P. 1981. Behaviour, setal inversion and phylogeny of Sabellida (Polychaeta). Zoologica Scripta 10: 183-202

Krishnan, G. 1950. On the nephridia and coelomoducts of Serpulimorpha and Cirratulidae. Proceedings of the National Institute of Sciences of India 16: 29-39

Levinsen, G.M.R. 1883. Systematisk-geografisk Oversigt over de nordiske Annulata, Gephyrea, Chaetognathi og Balanoglossi. Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening i Kjøbenhavn 1882: 160-251

Malmgren, A.J. 1866. Nordiska Hafs-Annulater. Öfversigt af Kongelige Vetenskaps-Akademiens Förhandlingar, Stockholm 22: 355-410

Meyer, E. 1888. Studien über den Körperbau der Anneliden. IV. Die Körperform der Serpulacean und Hermellen. Mitteilungen aus der Zoologischen Station zu Neapel. Berlin 8: 462-662

Orrhage, L. 1980. On the structure and homologues of the anterior end of the polychaete families Sabellidae and Serpulidae. Zoomorphology (Berlin) 96: 113-168

Pettibone, M.H. 1982. Annelida. pp. 1-43 in Parker, S.P. (ed.). Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms. New York : McGraw-Hill Book Co. Vol. 2.

Uschakov, P.V. 1955. Polychaeta from the Far-Eastern Seas of the USSR. Moscow : Akademiya NAUK SSS pp. 1-443. [translated from Russian by the Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem 1965]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
13-Oct-2015 SABELLIDA 13-Oct-2015 MODIFIED
27-Jan-2011 MODIFIED