Abstract

ABSTRACT. Introduction: The polychaete fauna inhabiting Chinchorro Bank has been poorly studied and only 35 species have been previously reported. Objective: To examine the taxonomic composition of the Eunicida and Amphinomida associated to dead coral substrates from this coral reef atoll, a Biosphere Reserve located in the southern Mexican Caribbean. Methods: In April 2008, dead coral fragments of the genus Porites were manually collected by SCUBA diving at eight stations between 4-16.2 m depth. Results: A total of 714 individuals belonging to 17 genera and 48 species of the families Amphinomidae, Dorvilleidae, Eunicidae, Lumbrineridae, Oenonidae and Onuphidae were identified. Eunicidae was clearly the more diverse (29 species; 60.4 %) and abundant family (479 individuals; 67.1 %), while the Oenonidae and Onuphidae were represented by only one individual-species each. Thirty-eight species (79.2 %) were new records for Chinchorro Bank, of which 23 species (47.9 %) were newly reported for the Western Caribbean ecoregion. Conclusions: The polychaete fauna recorded showed that the Chinchorro Bank reef is a species-rich habitat that deserves further study; the 48 species from six families identified were similar or even greater than the number of species reported from dead coral environments of other Caribbean Sea regions.

Keywords: Polychaeta, species list, biodiversity, distribution, Mesoamerican Reef System.