Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 737–749 | Cite as

Diversity and phylogenetic relationships of North Atlantic Laonice Malmgren, 1867 (Spionidae, Annelida) including the description of a novel species

  • Viktoria E. Bogantes
  • Kenneth M. Halanych
  • Karin Meißner
Biodiversity of Icelandic Waters
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity of Icelandic Waters


Spionid polychaetes are dominant members of many marine soft-bottom communities. As such, understanding their diversity and evolutionary history is of general interest. One spionid group in particular, Laonice, is known from the North Atlantic with several species occurring in deeper waters. We explored, as part of the IceAGE project, the biodiversity and evolution of Laonice using both morphology and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene data. Our data confirm the existence of at least seven lineages of Laonice in waters surrounding Iceland. Additionally, our sampling suggests species distributions of Laonice are similar to previous reports for other annelids, in that warmer waters south of Iceland appear to harbor more species, but further work is needed to clarify distribution patterns. Although our analysis was hampered by quality of preservation of animals from deep water, we recovered several species that were previously known to science (e.g., Laonice blakei, Laonice sarsi, Laonice cf. norgensis, and Laonice cirrata) and one new species. Laonice plumisetosa sp. nov. is characterized by having u-shaped nuchal organs not exceeding chaetiger 1 and the presence of stout capillaries with plush-like texture in parapodia of anterior chaetigers. Uncorrected genetic distances and phylogenetic analyses of COI data confirm these Laonice lineages are distinct. However, L. cirrata is composed of three subclades suggesting unrecognized diversity within this species. In the present paper, we aim to provide a preliminary phylogeny for Laonice and discuss our results in relation to the recently proposed subgenera for Laonice.


Iceland IceAGE Cytochrome c oxidase I Phylogeny Plumose chaeta 



We would like to thank the technicians of the German Centre of Marine Biodiversity Research (DZMB), Karen Jeskulke, and Antje Fischer for sample management. Dieter Fiege helped with photography and provided the photo of the holotype. Renate Walter (University of Hamburg) kindly assisted with SEM studies. We thank Andrey Sikorski for providing his poster from the IPC2016 meeting as a handout pdf. Saskia Brix and Torben Riehl facilitated visits of V.E.B to Hamburg. We also thank Damien S. Waits and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was made possible with the kind support of the crew of the R/V Meteor (M85/3) and R/V Poseidon (POS456). Visits to Hamburg were partially supported by German Research Foundation (DFG) grant BR3843/6–1. This work was funded by National Science Foundation grant DEB-1036537 to K. M. H. and DFG grant BR3843/4–1. This is Molette Biology Laboratory contribution 75 and Auburn University Marine Biology Program contribution 172.


This study was funded by the National Science Foundation (grant DEB–1036537) and the German Research Foundation (grants: BR3843/4–1, BR3843/6–1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling have been obtained by the organizers of the cruises (DZMB Hamburg) from the competent authorities.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 12 kb)
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(GIF 469 kb)

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High resolution image (TIFF 124668 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viktoria E. Bogantes
    • 1
  • Kenneth M. Halanych
    • 1
  • Karin Meißner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Molette Biology Laboratory for Environmental and Climate Change StudiesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Deutsches Zentrum für Marine Biodiversitätsforschung, Biozentrum GrindelHamburgGermany

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