The marine fauna of the Ross Sea: Polychaeta

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1998
Authors:G. A. Knox, Cameron D. B.
Journal:NIWA Biodiversity Memoir
Date Published:1998

This paper reports on the polychaetous annelids of the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica. It is based on material from three sources : (1) collections made by Dr B.W. Balham, biologist with the Ross Sea party of the Trans-Antarctic (New Zealand) Expedition during 1956–58, (2) the extensive collections undertaken by the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, DSIR during the course of two cruises in HMNZS Endeavour during the summers of 1958–59 and 1959–60, and (3) collections made as part of the Stanford University (California) Benthic Invertebrate Studies in Antarctica from 1958 to 1960. Data on previously reported polychaete records from the Ross Sea are summarised and descriptions are given for species not present in the collections listed above. Of the 184 species now recorded from the Ross Sea (excluding Myzostomidae), descriptions are given of the 72 species represented in the collections studied. Of the latter, 38 had not previously been reported from the Ross Sea. Supplementary descriptions are given of 79 additional species based on the literature. Families with a large number of species are the Polynoidae (21), Syllidae (18), and Terebellidae (17). Three new species, Aphrodita rossi n.sp., Typosyllis pennelli n.sp., and Clymenella antarctica n.sp. are described. The following 14 species are known only from the Ross Sea region : Aphrodita rossi n.sp., Austrolaemilla sp., Anaitides adarensis, Syllidia inermis, Autolytus longstaffi, Eurysyllis ehlersi, Typosyllis pennelli n.sp., Spio obtusa, Clymenella antarctica n.sp., Mellinoides nelsoni, Octobranchus phyllocomus, Polycirrus antarcticus, Myxicola sulcata, and Chitinopomoides wilsoni. The distribution and ecology of the Ross Sea polychaetes are discussed in the context of the three major faunal assemblages distinguished by Bullivant and Dearborn (1967), namely, the Deep Shelf Mixed Assemblage, the Deep Shelf Mud Bottom Assemblage, and the Pennell Bank Assemblage, plus two coastal assemblages, the Victoria Land Coastal Assemblage and the McMurdo Sound Shelf Assemblage. The most diverse assemblages are the latter two with 70 and 80 species of polychaetes respectively.

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