Dauvin, J.C. and Thiebaut, Eric. (1994). Is Owenia fusiformis Delle Chiaje a cosmopolitan species?. Mémoires du Muséum national D'histoire naturelle. 162: 383-404.
Dauvin, J.C. and Thiebaut, Eric
Is Owenia fusiformis Delle Chiaje a cosmopolitan species?
Mémoires du Muséum national D'histoire naturelle
World Polychaeta Database (WPolyDb)
Some works on Polychaetes report that a very large fraction of the class is widely distributed with a large bathymetric range. Nevertheless, several recent studies have shown limited distribution of species or genus in the world; it has also been questioned whether or not any "cosmopolitan" polychaete species exists as a single species. The tube-building polychaete Owenia fusiformis is considered to have a world wide distribution with depths ranging from shallow littoral to 4,554 m. However, geographical and bathymetric distribution of this species remains uncertain. The objective of this paper was to bring together all available data in order to present an up-to-date review of the knowledge on the genus Owenia. Moreover, some observations of macroscopic morphological characters (the presence of a thoracic collar and eye-spots, the structure of the tube) of specimens collected in Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans were presented. From this study, only two species remain valid: 0. lobopygidiata, which is a bathyal and abyssal Pacific species, and 0. fusiformis. 0. collaris described in the eastern Pacific and Carribean and 0. caudisetosa, which was only known from the Salvador coasts, arc junior synonyms of 0. fusiformis. Although there is some variability of microscopic and macroscopic morphological characters, these variations do not allow for the identification of several species from 0. fusiformis populations. 0. fusiformis seems truly cosmopolitan which is absent only in Antarctic waters. It is a typical sandy and muddy-sandy species. The species is abundant only in shallows waters (0-40 m), but it is found with certainty to 2325 m. The records from greater depths are doubtful insofar as the specimens are usually fragmented and may be reported as the bathyal species 0. lobopygidiata. The species is able to develop different reproductive strategies in relation to latitude. Further work is necessary to complete the biological studies of populations especially from the colclest and warmest waters, and to investigate if there are isolated genetic populations.