Abstract

Introduction: From a global point of view, polychaetes that inhabit in the pelagic community have been little studied, although they are an important link in the food chains of marine ecosystems. Objective: to  analyze the local richness and density of polychaetes. Methods: Plankton samples were taken in 17 localities during May and December 2013, through surface trawls in a barge with an outboard motor. We used a net with 0.3 m mouth diameter, 1.30 m long and a 0.3 mm aperture mesh. From each collected sample, polychaetes were separated and determined at the lowest possible taxonomic level. Results: We collected a total of 1 873 individuals, with an important variation in relative density, since in May 7 952.0 ind/100m3 were recorded, while in December there were only 882.1 ind/100m3. The differences in the composition and density of the determined polychaetes, were analyzed, of which the highest proportion belongs to the larval forms of the benthic (meroplankton) populations, and the lowest proportion to holoplankton organisms. During the two periods of study were observed thirteen families, from which Sabellariidae, Spionidae, Chaetopteridae, Magelonidae, Iospilidae and Typhloscolecidae were common in both periods, while Aphroditidae, Syllidae, Phyllodocidae and Alciopidae were observed only in May, and Serpulidae, Sabellidae and Lopadorhynchidae were observed only in December. Conclusions: It is important to point out that the observed variations provide valuable information about the life cycles and the biogeographic aspects of the polychaetes in the study area.

Keywords: marine worms, zooplankton, ecology, Mexican Pacific.