A new Parougia species (Annelida, Dorvilleidae) associated with eutrophic marine habitats in Antarctica


In contrast to other areas of the planet, very little is known about Antarctic marine invertebrates associated with eutrophic marine benthic areas. Recently, several studies investigated this fauna by experimentally deploying whale bones, leading to the discovery of new opportunistic polychaetes. To investigate the Antarctic organisms associated with these substrates we experimentally deployed whale bones in the shallow waters of Deception Island (South Shetland Islands). We present here the formal description of Parougia diapason sp. nov., a dorvilleid found in remarkable abundance at some of the bones deployed for 1 year. This new Parougia species, the second described in the Southern Ocean, also occurred in moderate numbers at nearby organic-rich sediments close to the Spanish Antarctic Base, indicating that this may be an opportunistic species. P. diapason sp. nov. clearly differs from the rest of congeneric taxa described in the lack of dorsal cirrus as well as in other morphological characters related to the jaw apparatus and the shape of parapodial lobes. Phylogenetic analyses show that P. diapason sp. nov. is sister to the rest of the congeneric taxa whose sequences are currently available. The finding of P. diapason sp. nov. in an area which has been previously investigated using similar experiments suggests that a lot remains to be discovered in Antarctic marine benthic invertebrate communities inhabiting eutrophic habitats.

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Thanks are due to R. de Stephanis, P. Gauffier, J. Giménez and E. Fernández and the institutions EBD-CSIC, CIRCE and Junta de Andalucía, who kindly provided the fresh whale vertebrae for our experiments. We also thank the Gabriel de Castilla Spanish Antarctic Base crew of the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons for their help during deployment and recovery of the experiments. We are highly grateful to our ACTIQUIM project colleagues J. Cristobo, A. Riesgo, J. Moles, C. Angulo, B. Figuerola and L. Núñez-Pons, and also to G. Paterson, from the National History Museum of London. Two anonymous reviewers as well as the editor are acknowledged for their comments, which helped to improve a previous version of the manuscript. This research received support from the SYNTHESYS Project (http://www.synthesys.info/), which is financed by the European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 Integrating Activities Programme, and from the Spanish Government, through the research project ACTIQUIM-II (CTM2010-17415/ANT). This paper is part of the AntEco (State of the Antarctic Ecosystem) Scientific Research Programme.

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Correspondence to Sergi Taboada.

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Taboada, S., Bas, M. & Avila, C. A new Parougia species (Annelida, Dorvilleidae) associated with eutrophic marine habitats in Antarctica. Polar Biol 38, 517–527 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-014-1614-7

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  • Deception Island
  • Phylogeny
  • Taxonomy
  • Polychaeta
  • Opportunistic species
  • Whale bones