Global diversity of polychaetes (Polychaeta; Annelida) in freshwater

Abstract

A literature review of Polychaeta (Annelida) including Aphanoneura (the oligochaete-like Aeolosomatidae and Potamodrilidae), living in freshwater yielded 168 species, 70 genera and 24 families representing all of the major polychaete clades, but less than 2% of all species. The best-represented families were, in order, Nereididae, Aeolosomatidae, Sabellidae, Spionidae and Histriobdellidae. Fourteen families were represented by a single species and genus. Regions supporting the highest diversity of freshwater polychaetes were in order, Palaearctic, Neotropical, Oriental, Nearctic, Australasian, and Afrotropical. More than half of all species and genera inhabitat lakes and rivers, followed by lagoons/estuaries, which have a high proportion of euryhaline species, and inland seas. Less common, atypical polychaete habitats include subterranean waters, the hyporheic zone of rivers and plant container habitats (phytotelmata). At least three distinct ecological/historical processes appear to account for the colonisation of continental waters: invasion of a clade prior to the break-up of Gondwana, as in Aphanoneura, Namanereis, Stratiodrilus, and Caobangia; relatively recent stranding of individual species (relicts); and the temporary visitation of euryhaline species.

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Acknowledgments

CJG would like thank David Karlen and Hasko Nesemann for making available unpublished distribution data and the many colleagues, who provided helpful suggestions in response to a request for information. João Gil and Mary Petersen provided valuable constructive critique in review, and João also supplied literature references and distributional data. We thank Gloria Richards and Sue Dibbs for the preparation of figures.

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Correspondence to Christopher J. Glasby.

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Guest editors: E. V. Balian, C. Lévêque, H. Segers & K. Martens

Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment

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Glasby, C.J., Timm, T. Global diversity of polychaetes (Polychaeta; Annelida) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595, 107–115 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-007-9008-2

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Keywords

  • Annelida
  • Polychaeta
  • Aphanoneura
  • Relict
  • Introduced species
  • Endemicity
  • Zoogeography