Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 72–94 | Cite as

A Review of “Polychaeta” Chemicals and their Possible Ecological Role

  • Marina Cyrino Leal Coutinho
  • Valéria Laneuville Teixeira
  • Cinthya Simone Gomes Santos
Review Article


Despite the many publications concerning the isolation of substances and the many reviews of marine natural products, some groups of organisms remain poorly studied, including “Polychaeta”. In response, this review covers articles published through December 2016 that address marine natural products produced from polychaetes, with a focus on antipredatory strategies, competitors, fouling, and pathogens. A total of 121 compounds were isolated from 1934 to 2016, which includes halogenated aromatics, proteins, amino acids and Lumazine derivatives most notably—with a defensive function were found in the literature, most frequently in the families Sabellidae, Terebellidae, Glyceridae, and Nereididae. The period of highest discovery of natural products in defensive actions for the group was the 2000s. Polychaetes were addressed in 26 revisions of the total 51 articles analyzed and are less reported than other marine invertebrates such as sponges, cnidarians, mollusks, and tunicates. In sum, the present review provides a basis for future research on the marine chemical ecology of polychaetes.


Marine chemical ecology Antipredatory strategies Competition Halogenated aromatics Annelid Bristle worms 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento), CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) and FAPERJ (Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa ao Estado do Rio de Janeiro). Without it, this study would not have been possible. We are thankful to Diana Cavalcanti and Ana Claudia dos Santos Brasil whose comments helped to improve an earlier version of this manuscript. Two anonymous reviewers also contributed to improve the final version.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Cyrino Leal Coutinho
    • 1
  • Valéria Laneuville Teixeira
    • 1
  • Cinthya Simone Gomes Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine Biology, Institute of BiologyFederal Fluminense UniversityNiteróiBrazil

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