Siboglinid evolution shaped by habitat preference and sulfide tolerance Conference Paper uri icon


  • Siboglinids are tube-dwelling annelids that inhabit marine reducing habitats such as anoxic mud bottoms, seeps and hydrothermal vents. As adults, they lack a functional digestive system and rely on chemoautotrophic microbial endosymbionts. Based on morphological analyses, Siboglinidae form a clade with the Sabellariidae, Serpulidae and Sabellidae within the Annelida. The sister group to this clade is the Oweniidae. Three subgroups constitute the Siboglinidae: Frenulata typically inhabit anoxic sediments, Sclerolinium (a.k.a., Monilifera) live on decaying organic matter or reduced sediments and Vestimentifera are mostly found at hydrocarbon seeps and hydrothermal vents. Recent studies suggest that Sclerolinum is the sister group to the Vestimentifera. Within the Vestimentifera, the species inhabiting bare-rock hydrothermal vents represent a derived clade. The seep-inhabiting genus Lamellibrachia forms a basal branch within the Vestimentifera. Trends in siboglinid evolution are most notable with regard to the level of sulfide tolerance and type of substrate. Basal groups inhabit soft substrate with only slightly elevated sulfide levels, whereas more derived species colonize hard substrate and tolerate elevated temperatures and high levels of sulfide. The type of substrate correlates with tube morphology and the function of the opisthosome. The role of the symbionts in habitat selection needs further investigation.

author list (cited authors)

  • Schulze, A., & Halanych, K. M.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • April 2003