Sphaerodorid polychaetes from Australia

SEM photo of Sphaerodoropsis exmouthensis . Source Capa & Bakken 2015.
SEM photo of Sphaerodoropsis exmouthensis. Source Capa & Bakken 2015.

Sphaerodoridae is a group of small polychaetes that rarely exceeds 5 mm long. They have often been overlooked in samples when samples are sieved, they simply go through the sieve mesh. In Australia this group has been poorly known. In order to shed more light on the group we examined available museum material representing samples from around the Australian coast. Four new species was described, and three species formally re-described. After our revision the diversity of Sphaerodoridae in Australian waters are 10 species.

Available type material made it possible to redescribe species originally described from Australia. We found specimens representing a richer diversity than previously known, resulting in description of four species new to science. One species, Ephesiella australiensis, we were not able to tell if the widely distributed material represent more than one species, although reported morphological difference. By examining the holdings of sphaerodorids from the collections of three Australian Museums, mostly unidentified specimens, we were able to update the distribution ranges of species of Sphaerodoridae in Australia.

Distribution map og sphaerodorid species in Australia. From Capa & Bakken 2015.
Distribution map og sphaerodorid species in Australia. From Capa & Bakken 2015.

In addition to the paper we published another paper published just after ours adding to new species to the Australian fauna.


Capa M, Bakken T. 2015. Revision of the Australian Sphaerodoridae (Annelida) including the description of four new species. 4000: 227-267. doi 10.11646/zootaxa.4000.2.3 Open Access

Capa M, Rouse GW. 2015. Sphaerodoridae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, including the description of two new species and reproductive notes. 4019: 168-183. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4019.1.9 Open Access