Black spicules from a new interstitial opheliid polychaete Thoracophelia minuta sp. nov. (Annelida: Opheliidae)

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The phylum Annelida exhibits high morphological diversity coupled with its extensive ecological diversity, and the process of its evolution has been an attractive research subject for many researchers. Its representatives are also extensively studied in fields of ecology and developmental biology and important in many other biology related disciplines. The study of biomineralisation is one of them. Some annelid groups are well known to form calcified tubes but other forms of biomineralisation are also known. Herein, we report a new interstitial annelid species with black spicules, Thoracophelia minuta sp. nov., from Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan. Spicules are minute calcium carbonate inclusions found across the body and in this new species, numerous black rod-like inclusions of calcium-rich composition are distributed in the coelomic cavity. The new species can be distinguished from other known species of the genus by these conspicuous spicules, shape of branchiae and body formula. Further, the new species’ body size is apparently smaller than its congeners. Based on our molecular phylogenetic analysis using 18S and 28S sequences, we discuss the evolutionary significance of the new species’ spicules and also the species' progenetic origin.




Jimi, N., Fujimoto, S., Takehara, M., & Imura, S. (2021). Black spicules from a new interstitial opheliid polychaete Thoracophelia minuta sp. nov. (Annelida: Opheliidae). Scientific Reports, 11(1).

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