Preparation and use of Monospecific Antisera to Capitella SP. I.
The opportunistic polychaetes formerly known as Capitella capitata are the archetypal pioneers in soft-bottom benthic succession. Capitella is now known to be comprised of several morphologically indistinguishable but reproductively isolated sibling species. Capitella sp. I is widely distributed on the east coast of the United States and has been used in a number of experimental and toxicological studies. We used three immunoelectrophoretic techniques (i.e., 2-dimensional, Krøll’s line, and Laurell’s rocket electrophoresis) to identify and purify a dominant antigen in this species. To study the role of Capitella species in field experiments, we developed a monospecific antiserum to this major antigen. We plan to use this monospecific typing serum and FITC-immunocytochemical staining to identify the formalin-preserved larvae and juveniles of Capitella sp. I. This immunocytochemical staining technique will enable us to test processes controlling the distribution and abundance of Capitella sp. I in the field.