Observations on the morphology of some North American nemertines with consequent taxonomic changes and a reassessment of the architectonics of the phylum

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A majority of the nemertine species from the western North Atlantic were originally described from life in the nineteenth century. Many of these were established by A. E. Verrill who had ‘an eye for species’ no matter which phylum he was working with, and thus when living nemertines which he described are encountered, they can usually be recognized. The morphology of most of these species has never been reported; some may prove to be species described earlier from the eastern North Atlantic. Morphological observations on the nemertine species from the North East coast of the Pacific are inadequate and have prevented satisfactory comparison with species from Japan and eastern Russia. The morphology of some species collected in the Gulf of Maine and from Cape Cod, as well as a re-examination of some of the slides of type specimens of species from the west coast of North America, indicates that their generic placement must be re-examined. The architectonic plan of the heteronemertines postulated over 100 years ago can not be substantiated and is redescribed. Three new heteronemertean genera are described: Tenuilineus gen.n. Parvicirrus gen.n., Tarrhomyos gen.n.

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Riser, N.W. Observations on the morphology of some North American nemertines with consequent taxonomic changes and a reassessment of the architectonics of the phylum. Hydrobiologia 266, 141–157 (1993).

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Key words

  • Nemertea
  • North America
  • taxonomy
  • Tenuilineus
  • Parvicirrus
  • Tarrhomyos