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Nereididae (Annelida) phylogeny based on molecular data

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Nereididae is one of Annelida’s most diverse and well-studied families; despite this, only recently have molecular approaches been used to access phylogenetic hypotheses within the family. At least two nereidid groups can be identified based on mitochondrial gene order; however, this type of molecular information is not available for most taxa, and relationships of subfamilies are still poorly understood. In the present study, we used nuclear and mitochondrial markers to evaluate relationships within Nereididae and verified hypotheses on subfamilies delineation and relationship. Our results suggest the paraphyletic status of Gymnonereidinae and Nereidinae, as well as some genera within these subfamilies. Despite this, a revision of these subfamilies delineation and diagnoses was presented to match current phylogenetic understanding of the group. We suggest reverting to the original definition of Gymnonereidinae to include only the genera originally proposed by Banse in 1977. Our results also support monophyly of a large group that can be defined by mitochondrial gene order. This group includes most taxa identified as Nereidinae, and therefore, we suggest that this feature should be used as diagnostic of the subfamily.

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Data availability

Data from the sequences used in this study are available on Genbank. Other data sets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors are grateful for Orlemir Carrete, Karla Paresque, Nicolas Lavesque, Andrew Mackie, and Sandra Sampertegui who provided samples for this study. We are also grateful to Dr. Torkild Bakken and an anonymous reviewer for comments in previous versions of the manuscript.


P.R.A. and C.S.G.S. thank CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) for financial support (process: PDSE 88881.188038/2018–01 and EST-SENIOR 99999.001299/2015–08). This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001. This work was funded by USA National Science Foundation grant EAR-0120646 to K.M.H.

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Correspondence to Paulo R. Alves.

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Alves, P.R., Halanych, K.M., Silva, E.P. et al. Nereididae (Annelida) phylogeny based on molecular data. Org Divers Evol 23, 529–541 (2023).

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