Evidence of regenerative ability in Myxicola infundibulum (Annelida, Sabellida): evolutionary and systematic implications

Margherita Licciano, Gordon James Watson, Joanna Michelle Murray, Adriana Giangrande

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Members of only a few species of annelids are reported as being incapable of regeneration; of these, Myxicola infundibulum is the only example in the family Sabellidae. Interestingly, its congener Myxicola aesthetica exhibits noteworthy regenerative ability. Unambiguously identifying non-regenerating species is critical to reconstructing how regenerative abilities evolved within the phylum. However, studies designed specifically to assess the regenerative potential of M. infundibulum have never been performed. In this study, we aimed to confirm the lack of regeneration ability of M. infundibulum, reported previously for Atlantic specimens, or to determine the extent to which regeneration occurs. Our results showed that individuals from the Mediterranean Sea (Adriatic Sea) do undergo regeneration of lost body parts, although to a lesser extent than do other sabellids. Therefore, M. infundibulum should no longer be considered a non-regenerating species. At present, uncertainties regarding phylogenetic relationships of Sabellidae prevent inferences about the polarity of change in M. infundibulum. Since our findings are counter to those of previous studies which describe Atlantic specimens as non-regenerating, more extensive analysis is required to ascertain if they could actually belong to a different species than Mediterranean M. infundibulum, accounting for these differences in reported regenerative capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
Number of pages13
JournalInvertebrate Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


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