Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1161–1172 | Cite as

Anterior regeneration in the spionid polychaetes Dipolydora quadrilobata and Pygospio elegans

  • Sara M. LindsayEmail author
  • Jennifer L. Jackson
  • Si Qing He
Research Article


Like many other benthic infaunal invertebrates, spionid polychaetes often lose portions of their bodies to predators, which affects their activities. Feeding palp loss and tail loss have been studied in several spionids, but the capacity for anterior tissue regeneration has not been compared in different species. The present study examines anterior tissue regeneration in two species, Dipolydora quadrilobata (Jacobi 1883) and Pygospio elegans Claparède 1863, in two laboratory experiments. Tissue removal treatments included removal of palps only, removal of anterior tissue through the first setiger, anterior tissue through the fifth setiger, all anterior tissue through half of the gill-bearing setigers, and all anterior tissue through the last gill-bearing setiger. Regeneration was monitored by capturing images of the worms and digitizing the area of regenerated anterior tissue or counting the number of segments that grew over time. Worms of both species regenerated anterior tissue regardless of the amount removed. Morphogenesis during regeneration followed a similar pattern in these two species regardless of the amount of anterior tissue lost, progressing from wound healing to formation of a recognizable prostomium and peristomium (“head”) by 6 days post-ablation. Palp and setal growth, addition of segments, and formation of nuchal organs and the ciliated food groove followed so that worms appeared to have re-grown “normal,” but smaller, “heads” and palps by 9–12 days following ablation. Over the course of 16 days, worms that lost more segments regenerated less tissue relative to their initial intact size and did so more slowly. There was no significant palp growth during the first 3 days following ablation. Rate of segment addition was directly related to the degree of tissue loss in D. quadrilobata. P. elegans added segments at similar rates whether 50 or 70% of the original segments was removed.


Anterior Regeneration Tissue Loss Bonferroni Multiple Comparison Suspension Feeding Segment Addition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Portions of this work were submitted by JLJ to fulfill the requirements of an Honors Thesis in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine. We thank Dr. Kevin Eckelbarger and the staff of the Darling Marine Center for facilitating our work there. Dr. Jill Fegley provided helpful statistical advice. Toni Lombardi capably assisted with image analysis. Comments by Marlene Tsie and two anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript. JLJ and SQH were supported in part by the Maine Research Internships for Teachers and Students (MERITS) program. Financial support was provided by NSF grant OCE-0221229 to SML.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara M. Lindsay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer L. Jackson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Si Qing He
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Marine SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.School of BiologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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