Saccocirridae (Annelida) from the Canary Islands with a description of Saccocirrus slateri sp. nov.

  • Maikon Di DomenicoEmail author
  • Alejandro Martínez
  • Katrine Worsaae
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Interstitial and Cave Diversity in Atlantic Oceanic Islands


Two species of Saccocirrus, S. slateri sp. nov. and S. parvus Gerlach, 1953 are recorded from samples collected in nine sandy beaches throughout the Canary Islands. Detailed descriptions combining live observations with light and electron scanning microscopy are provided for each species, as well as an updated molecular phylogeny of the genus including all described European species. Saccocirrus slateri sp. nov. was found in sediments exposed to strong wave action along beaches and piers of Tenerife and La Palma islands, while S. parvus was found in more sheltered subtidal environments of Tenerife, La Palma, and Lanzarote islands. Saccocirrus slateri sp. nov. resembles the European S. papillocercus but differs in possessing a longer trunk, more segments, and hooked chaetae. Saccocirrus parvus from Canary Island fits the description of S. parvus but differs in the presence of unequal prongs in the longest chaeta and minor details regarding the arrangement of the gonads. These differences are considered to be intraspecific variation given that the available DNA sequences are identical, and we here provide an emended description. The description of S. slateri sp. nov. increases the number of species of Saccocirridae to 23. We discuss habitat preferences of the genus Saccocirrus in the light of this newly available information.


Taxonomy Interstitial Sandy beaches Meiofauna Microscopy Molecular phylogeny 



We thank our colleagues and participants of the I International Workshop on Marine and Anchialine Meiofauna in Lanzarote. The workshop was supported by Cabildo de Lanzarote, as well as Reserva de la Biosfera. Collection permits were facilitated by Elena Mateo Mederos and Leopoldo Moro Abad. especially thank the staff at the Aula de la Naturaleza and Carlos Dizzi and his family from Las Pardelas Park kindly hosted us during our field trips in Lanzarote. Samples in Lanzarote were collected with the assistance of divers Luis E. Cañadas, Enrique Domínguez, Carola D Jorge, and Ralf Schoenermark. We thank Jon Norenburg for provided the samples from Charco Verde in La Palma. We are also in debt to Gustavo Gonzalez (IEO), who collected the samples from Tenerife together with AM.

Funding information

This study and collections at the Canary Islands were mainly funded by Reserva de la Biosfera (Government of Lanzarote). This research is also result of the Freja grant of K.W. as well as research grants to K.W. from the Danish Independent Research Council (Grant # 272-06-0260) and Carlsberg Foundation (Grant # 2010_01_0802), which funded the laboratory work and salaries. This study was also supported by the Brazilian National Council for Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq—Process 140611/2008-8), which provided the PhD fellowship of MDD, and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP—Process 2012/ 08581-0, 2013/04358-7) which provided postdoctoral fellowships and grants for MDD. Collections in Lanzarote and secondary laboratory costs were financially supported by the Danish Research Council (grant no. 272–06–0260 to KW) and the Carlsberg Foundation (2010_01_0802 to KW) as well as Consejería de Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Lanzarote and authorized by Gobierno de Canarias and Centros Turísticos. AM was supported by Marie Skolodowska-Curie Individual Grant (IFEF), H2020 Program of the EU, number 745530—“ANCAVE—Anchialine caves to understand evolutionary processes”.

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 and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgments, if applicable.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.


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© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Marine StudiesFederal University of Paraná, BrazilParanaBrazil
  2. 2.Italian National Research CouncilInstitute for Water ResearchVerbaniaItaly
  3. 3.Marine Biological Section, Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark

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