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Type: Article
Published: 2020-12-28
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Novel symbiotic relationship between a spionid polychaete and Lingula (Brachiopoda: Lingulata: Lingulidae), with description of Polydora lingulicola sp. nov. (Annelida: Spionidae)

Department of Biology, Center for Liberal Arts & Sciences, Iwate Medical University, Iwate 028-3694, Japan
Laboratory of Biological Oceanography, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8572, Japan


A new spionid species Polydora lingulicola sp. nov., a novel symbiont of Lingula anatina Lamarck, 1801 is described here based on materials collected from the Yatsushiro Sea and Ariake Sea, southern Japan. Polydora lingulicola sp. nov., morphologically closest to P. glycymerica Radashevsky, 1993 and P. vulgaris Mohammad, 1972, is distinct from latter two shell-boring species by its smaller size, long maximum caruncle length, non-boring lifestyle, presence of subspherical yellow chromatophores on chaetiger 5 (visible in living specimens), and larval morphology. The new species was observed to construct mud tubes on the surfaces of L. anatina shells, with the tube apertures located near the lateral inhalant pseudosiphon of the hosts, and utilizes the water currents created by the filter-feeding host for feeding suspended food particles. Polydora lingulicola sp. nov. represents the first polychaetous annelid reported to exhibit an obligate symbiotic relationship with a lingulid brachiopod. Epibiotic polychaetes previously reported as P. cornuta Bosc, 1802 to occur on L. anatina shells from Japan in 1902 may belong to P. lingulicola sp. nov. The possibility that the wild populations of P. lingulicola sp. nov. may be vulnerable to extinction because they only associate with L. anatina, wild populations of which are near threatened by habitat loss, coastal pollution, and fishing pressure.


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