Morphological comparison of the regeneration process in Sabella spallanzanii and Branchiomma luctuosum (Annelida, Sabellida)

M. Licciano, Joanna Murray, Gordon Watson, A. Giangrande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within Annelida, the family Sabellidae is a particularly interesting clade in which to carry out comparative studies of regeneration, as its members vary in regeneration potential, with some even lacking this ability completely. However, data on the regenerative potential of sabellids are available only for a few species investigated early in the last century, and even for those, many aspects of regenerative ability are yet to be determined. In the present study, we compared the morphology of the regeneration process of anterior and posterior ends in Sabella spallanzanii and Branchiomma luctuosum, two sabellids that belong to closely related genera. Members of S. spallanzanii exhibited lower mortality in response to wounding and greater regenerative ability, with amputees able to complete the regeneration process more rapidly than in B. luctuosum. Moreover, results from this study suggest that adults of S. spallanzanii and B. luctuosum use different mechanisms to restore lost anterior body parts. In S. spallanzanii, both morphallaxis and epimorphosis appear to be important in anterior end regeneration, but in B. luctuosum, only epimorphosis appears to be important. Such variation among closely related taxa sharing similar body plans has rarely been reported, but might be profitably examined using molecular approaches in these and other species of sabellids. Results of such studies interpreted in the context of phylogeny may ultimately provide insight into the evolution of regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalInvertebrate Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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