Insights into the symbiotic relationship between scale worms and carnivorous sponges (Cladorhizidae, Chondrocladia)

Sergi Taboada*, Ana Serra Silva, Lenka Neal, Javier Cristobo, Pilar Ríos, Patricia Álvarez-Campos, Jon Thomassen Hestetun, Vassiliki Koutsouveli, Emma Sherlock, Ana Riesgo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Symbiotic associations between polynoid scale worms and other marine invertebrates are common, but sometimes poorly understood. Compounding this problem is the fact that polynoid systematics is largely unresolved. Here, we transfer the species originally described as Nemidia antillicola chondrocladiae Fauvel (1943), and currently synonymized with Neopolynoe acanellae (Verrill, 1881), to the species Neopolynoe chondrocladiae n. comb. This species is characterized by living in association with the carnivorous sponges Chondrocladia robertballardi Cristobo, Ríos, Pomponi & Xavier, 2015 and Chondrocladia virgata Thompson, 1873. The existence of specialized chaetae in N. chondrocladiae n. comb. and the occurrence of open galleries in the sponge, derived from a gradual overgrowth of the sponge to accommodate the worm, suggest an obligate symbiotic relationship between worm and sponge. The presence of a gravid female with relatively small oocytes (maximum diameter 56.94 ± 14.89 μm) suggests that N. chondrocladiae n. comb. is a gonochoristic broadcaster with a planktotrophic larva, a means of reproduction that would maximize the chances of this species finding new suitable hosts to colonize. We also provide a phylogenetic placement, using four genetic markers (18S, 28S, 16S and COI), for N. chondrocladiae n. comb. and N. acanellae, which confirms they are two different species. In addition, we also report here the occurrence of another deep-water polynoid species in association with the carnivorous sponge Chondrocladia verticillata Topsent, 1920, from the Gulf of Mexico, and place it in a phylogeny.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103191
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Insights into the symbiotic relationship between scale worms and carnivorous sponges (Cladorhizidae, Chondrocladia)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this