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A Remarkable New Genus and Species of Fan Worm (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) Associated with Marine Gastropods

Kirk Fitzhugh and Greg W. Rouse
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 118, No. 4 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 357-390
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3227007
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3227007
Page Count: 34
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A Remarkable New Genus and Species of Fan Worm (Polychaeta: Sabellidae: Sabellinae) Associated with Marine Gastropods
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Abstract

A new genus and species of South African sabellid polychaete, Terebrasabella heterouncinata, is described. The species lives in burrows in living gastropod shells and was first discovered in 1993 in red abalone aquaculture facilities in southern California. Shell abnormalities in cultured abalones, caused by heavy sabellid infestations, raised concerns about its potential impact on native gastropods. The species has eight thoracic and three abdominal setigers, and is distinguished by the following features: 1) two pairs of radioles; 2) uncini in thoracic setigers 2-6 acicular, with main fang surmounted by small teeth, companion setae present: 3) uncini in thoracic setigers 7-8 avicular, with no main fang and teeth in a rasp-like (serpuliform) arrangement; 4) abdominal uncini acicular with main fang surmounted by small teeth. Members of T. heterouncinata are simultaneous hermaphrodites, with sperm produced in setiger 8 and oocytes in setigers 9-10. Sperm have an elongate nucleus and short midpiece. Young are brooded in the adult burrow to a late larval stage with about 6 setigers, but are non-feeding, lacking a branchial crown. Released larvae crawl over the surface of the mollusc host shell and settle under the shell lip, in contact with the mantle tissue. Larvae are subsequently covered by shell from the host, forming the burrow. Crown formation and feeding commence after burrow formation. Cladistic analyses support the hypothesis that Terebrasabella is most closely related to Amphiglena, as part of the apomorphic Sabellinae clade, (Laonome (Terebrasabella, Amphiglena)). The early release of late-stage, non-feeding larvae, which enables the association of T. heterouncinata with gastropods, appears to have been independently derived in this species as well as several Amphiglena species.

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