Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 25–42 | Cite as

Hidden diversity within the cosmopolitan species Pseudopolydora antennata (Claparède, 1869) (Spionidae: Annelida)

  • Carol A. SimonEmail author
  • Waka Sato-Okoshi
  • Hirokazu Abe
Original Paper


Pseudopolydora antennata was originally described by Claparède (Mem Soc Phys Hist Nat Geneve 20:1–225, 1869) from Teredo burrows in wood from the Gulf of Naples, but has also been recorded in South Africa, the Persian Gulf, South Australia, Japan and the Caribbean. This suggests that the species either has a cosmopolitan distribution, is an alien or, in some locations, represents a complex of morphologically similar species. We demonstrate, with molecular analyses and morphological examinations, that this species is a complex of at least five pseudocryptic species. Two species in South Africa (Pseudopolydora eriyali n. sp. in both the cool and the warm temperate bioregions and Pseudopolydora uphondo n. sp. from the subtropical bioregion) and two in Japan (Pseudopolydora tsubaki n. sp. from central east Japan and Pseudopolydora ushioni n. sp. from southwestern Japan) are consistently confirmed by nuclear 18S and 28S and mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene analyses. Morphological examination demonstrates that these four newly described species and Pseudopolydora hutchingsae n. sp. from South Australia differ from each other and Pseudopolydora antennata from Europe and the Marshall Islands with respect to the ratio of length to number of chaetigers, number of branchiate chaetigers, shapes of prostomium and modified spines, and methyl green staining patterns on the anterior dorsum, caruncle, prostomium, peristomium, and ventral and lateral sides of the body.


Pseudocryptic species Methyl green Pseudopolydora eriyali n. sp. Pseudopolydora uphondo n. sp. Pseudopolydora hutchingsae n. sp. Pseudopolydora tsubaki n. sp. Pseudopolydora ushioni n. sp. 18S, 28S, 16S rRNA analyses 



CAS would like to thank the staff at the Australian Museum, especially Pat Hutchings, Steve Keable (the collections manager) and Sue Lindsey (of the microscopy unit). WS-O is most grateful to Kenji Okoshi for his collaboration in collecting samples from Izu-Oshima, Japan. Further thanks go to Hannelore Paxton for translating articles and Erica Keppel for kindly loaning us some of her specimens. This work was supported by travel grants awarded to CAS by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the H.B and M.J. Thom Awards. Research funds were provided to CAS by the National Research Foundation (Thuthuka Programme) and Stellenbosch University, and fieldwork in Sodwana Bay was funded by SeaKeys. Research funds were provided to WS-O from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan (21580216, 15K07540). CAS also thanks Sne Kunene and Natasha Mothapo (Stellenbosch University) for their help with naming the South African species. The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their many useful recommendations that greatly improved this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biological Oceanography, Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Marine Ecology, Faculty of ScienceToho UniversityFunabashiJapan
  4. 4.Department of BiologyCenter for Liberal Arts & Sciences, Iwate Medical UniversityShiwa-gunJapan

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