The Stylet

Diversity and Systematics of Acoela and Nemertodermatida

Field trips

Acoels from "pockmarks"

October 2012. Back at The Sven Lovén center for marine sciences at Kristineberg on the Swedish West coast waiting for samples from the off shore site "Bratten", which has a "pockmark" topography, i.e. consisting of small pits that collect fine sediment. At the moment we are waiting for the gale to die down. 

Field trip to Chile

There are very few acoels known from Chile. Through the ASSEMBLE programme we had the opportunity to go to the Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM) in Las Cruces west of Santiago. The coast is exposed to impressive Pacific waves and it is a mixture of rocky shores and sandy beaches with a moderate tide of about 1.5 m amplitude.

Here is a photo of the ECIM

ECIM on top of the rock overlooking Las Cruces

Randy Finke here at ECIM has helped us by SCUBA diving for samples, and so far we have found seven species that are new to science - and we found all of them in good numbers. Here is a photo of a new Isodiametra species from samples that we took at the beautiful Matanzas beach.

Isodiametra from Matanzas 

Collecting in Halland


While the acoel fauna around Kristineberg on the Swedish west coast is reasonably well known, the fauna on the southern part of the coast is virtually unstudied. On this trip we are collecting on the sandy shores of Halland. Our colleagues at Halmstad University have kindly lent us lab space.

On this trip sampling is shore based, and the water is really shallow...

Sampling in shallow water on the coast near Glommen

We have to use simple methods for collecting sediment.

Collecting sand with a jar

The acoels that dominate our samples in these shallow waters are members of Mecynostomidae. 

Paedomecynostomum bruneum

The first fieldtrip of the summer 2011 goes to Helgoland. We are all very excited to collect at the type localities from Dörjes descriptions. Here we will share some pictures and such for anyone who might be intrested in these little creatures.

Here on Helgoland we have sampled mainly sandy sediments from the boat Aade or from the shore. Below is a photo that shows sampling using a "slurp gun" at the low water line on the nearby islet Düne.

Using a "Slurp Gun" for sampling sand at low water

Here is one of the worms we found at Düne.

Philomecynostomum lapillum

We found the anterior half of a Paratomella rubra swimming around in a petri dish with worms that we extracted from a sand sample. It seemed quite happy although it was missing the part that we are mostly interested in, i.e. the genitalia, which are often required for species identification. With Paratomella rubra identification is easy: the long slender and ruby coloured body are characteristic. Here is a photo:

Paratomella rubra

Below is a close up of the head. You can actually see the nerve cords to the left and below the statocyst (the "pearl" in the upper part of the photo).

Nervous system in anterior end of Paratomella rubra

 Proconvoluta primitiva turned out to be an extremely common species around here, and we could collect hundreds of specimens of this large (up to 5 mm!) and translucent species. One of them, from the same sample as our P. rubra, a suspciously reddish colour to its  digestive parenchyma....

Procunvoluta primitiva

We have already made several trips with the R/V Aade to bring in sand from various acoel type localities near the lab.



The crew at Aade operating the grabber.


Nice view from the lab.

The lab

We have mostly worked with acoels from sand samples on this trip. The species that live in the spaces between sand grains are often long and narrow like the specimen of Oligofilomorpha interstitiophilum below.

Long and narrow helps between the sand grains

Sampling at low tide

Sampling at low tide at the northern shore of Helgoland

Countries and Regions: 

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith