Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 2587–2599 | Cite as

Diversity of bone-eating Osedax worms on the deep Atlantic whale falls—bathymetric variation and inter-basin distributions

  • Mauricio ShimabukuroEmail author
  • Paulo Y. G. Sumida
Original Paper


Bone-eating Osedax worms can quickly colonize exposed bones and are important ecosystem engineers in whale fall communities, contributing to cause of bone degradation. This study shows that the deep SW Atlantic margin harbors many Osedax species. Using DNA barcoding, we found four putative new lineages as well as O. frankpressi Rouse, Goffredi, and Vrijenhoek, 2004 and O. braziliensis Fujiwara, Jimi, Sumida, Kawato, & Kitazato, 2019, with assemblages varying with depth. It is probable that the bathymetric distributions of these species are controlled by different water masses and their directions of flow. The haplotype network of Atlantic and Pacific O. frankpressi populations suggests segregation between populations, as is also seen in the high FST. However, the low p distance between both populations and the few substitution sites separating haplogroups from both regions (Atlantic and Pacific) could be evidence that populations of both basins are somehow close to each other. It is likely that whale fall habitats exist between both populations analyzed, connecting both basins.


COI DNA barcoding Deep sea Inter-basin distribution Genetic population 



We would like to thank the Masters and crews of R/V Alpha Crucis and R/V Alpha Delphini from IOUSP during the deployment and the recovering of SP-1500 lander. We are also indebted to the Brazilian Navy and the Master and crew of PRV Almirante Maximiano for the help during the recovering of the other landers. We also thank the editor, Dr. Craig R. Smith, and the two anonymous reviewers for the comments on the manuscript. MS was supported by CAPES/Proex PhD scholarship.


This study was funded by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) into the Research Program on Biodiversity Characterization, Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use (BIOTA Program)—grant number 2011/50185-1.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities.

Data availability statement

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary information files. All new COI sequences of Osedax were deposited in GenBank and the accession numbers are detailed in Table 2.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Figure S1 (PNG 582 kb)
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Supplementary Figure S2 (PNG 13551 kb)
12526_2019_988_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (53 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 (XLSX 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto OceanográficoUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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