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Free Content The Coral-Inhabiting Polychaetes of the Northern Florida Reef Tract.

Part I. Aphroditidae, Polynoidae, Amphinomidae, Eunicidae, and Lysaretidae

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An investigation of the cryptic polychaete fauna in some back reef coral patches of the Florida reef tract is reported. Ten species of errant polychaetes are described and discussed. Two of these species, the amphinomid Eurytho√ę complanata and the Iysaretid Oenone fulgida, are circumtropical in distribution and have previously been reported from Pacific reefs. Two of the amphinomids, Notopygos crinita and Hermodice carunculata, have a broad Atlantic distribution, and the remaining six species are restricted to the West Indies. Only two species, the polynoid Hermenia verruculosa and the eunicid Eunice schemacephala, appear restricted to the back reef habitat in the Atlantic.

The coral-inhabiting polychaetes are divided into two ecological components in agreement with previous work. The boring component is dominated by the Atlantic Palolo Eunice schemacephala, the coral-destructive role of which is discussed. The nestling (or crevice dwelling) component includes the scale worms and amphinomids. Eunice schemacephala dominates the biomass of the cryptic polychaete fauna throughout the year, but is numerically dominant only in the autumn months when its larvae settle following spawning in June-July.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1966-09-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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