Morphological anomalies in polychaetes: Perinereis species (Polychaeta: Annelida) examples from the Brazilian coast

Marina C. L. Coutinho and Cinthya S. G. Santos

Memoirs of Museum Victoria Vol 71 p. 45–51 (2014)



The examination of a large number of specimens in the context of taxonomic and ecological studies may lead to the discovery of morphological anomalies. The aim of this study was to describe the morphological anomalies observed in some individuals of Perinereis anderssoni and Perinereis ponteni collected in various regions of the Brazilian coast. A total of 290 specimens were analysed from along the northern and southern Brazilian coast, and 21 of these presented morphological anomalies, such as variations in the number of tentacular cirri and eyes, completely or basally fused antennae, chaetigers with three parapodia, and others. Perinereis anderssoni presented the highest number of anomalous individuals, and the most frequent morphological anomaly was the presence of a single antenna and nine tentacular cirri. Anomalous individuals of P. ponteni with seven tentacular cirri were also commonly collected. Ilha do Mel (PR) was the area with the highest percentage of individuals with anomalies (12.96%), followed by Martim de Sá (SP) (10.31%), São Francisco do Conde (BA) (8.33%), Tambaba (PB) (5.55%) and Itaipu (RJ) (1.92%). Most of the sampling locations have a history of contamination by a diverse array of pollutants. We provide background information for the morphological changes observed in two species that occur along the Brazilian coast, but additional studies are needed to confirm the real cause of these anomalies and their effect on the population structure of these ecologically important species.


Coutinho, M.C.L. & Santos, C.S.G., 2014. Morphological anomalies in polychaetes: Perinereis species (Polychaeta: Annelida) examples from the Brazilian coast. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 71: 45-51.

PUBLICATION DATE: 17 December 2014

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