Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (10): 23108.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023108

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Progress on the species diversity of polychaete annelids in the sea areas of China

Lizhe Cai1,*(), Zhi Wang2, Deyuan Yang1,3, Xiaoyu Zhao1, Xiping Zhou4   

  1. 1. College of the Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian 361102
    2. State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian 361102
    3. Institute of Marine Biology, Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan 20224
    4. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College, Zhangzhou, Fujian 363105
  • Received:2023-04-09 Accepted:2023-07-13 Online:2023-10-20 Published:2023-11-23
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Background & Aims: Polychaetes constitute a vital component of the marine benthic community, playing an important role in the marine biological monitoring, mariculture, benthic food chain web, ecological assessment and ecological restoration. This study categorizes the investigation into species diversity of the polychaete annelids in the Chinese sea areas into three chronological stages based on the year of the initial species description, the publication of new species, and the inception of doctoral thesis on the subject.

Progress: During the first stage (1933-1961), Chinese scholars documented numerous polychaete species, although no new species were identified. The second stage (1962-2007) witnessed the discovery of 49 new species, although no dedicated doctoral or master’s thesis were produced. The third stage led to the identification of 120 new species, with doctoral or master’s thesis. From 1933 to 2022, the number of new species and new recorded species found by Chinese scholars showed an ascending trajectory, albeit with substantial fluctuations across different time spans, particularly notable in the second stage.

Proposal: At present, the study of polychaete species diversity in China encounters challenges related to the classification of certain families, genera, and species, with some requiring urgent attention. Furthermore, species families and genera demand in-depth exploration, while certain new species await acknowledgment from the World Register of Marine Species. Addressing these existing problems, this paper proposes to enhancement of the polychaete database and the argumentation of research pertaining to species diversity, genetic diversity, genetic variability, and environmental DNA in the Chinese context.

Key words: polychaete, species diversity, new species, new record species, sea areas of China