Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Wuhan 430072, Hubei, Peoples R China; Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Hydrobiol, Wuhan 430072, Hubei, Peoples R China; Dipartimento Biol Evolut, IT-53100 Siena, Italy
Enchytraeid surveys were made in China, mainly along the Changjiang (Yangtze) River Basin, during the period 1991-1999. Among the findings, four terrestrial species of Marionina are new to science and well illustrate the taxonomic complexity of the genus as currently defined. Marionina sinica sp. n. is characterized by a specific chaetal distribution, the marionine pattern of the dorsal blood vessel, and elongate, fusiform, spermathecal ectal ducts. Marionina sacculata sp. n. is distinguished by the possession of a pair of pouch-like oesophageal appendages in IV, the lack of lateral chaetae in VII-XI, a marionine pattern of the dorsal blood vessel, and short spermathecal ectal ducts gradually expanding into spherical ampullae. Both M. sinica and M. sacculata have minute bodies (2-3 mm long in vivo) and lack spermathecal accessory glands. The former species shows its closest aYnities with the European M. brendae Rota, 1995, whereas the latter is closest to the German M. hoVbaueri Moller, 1971, for which an amended diagnosis is provided. Marionina seminuda sp. n. has only ventral chaetal bundles, distributed from III onwards and bisetose. It is similar to the Holarctic M. subterranea (Knollner, 1935) in lacking entirely the lateral chaetae and in having the brain incised posteriorly, the dorsal vessel bifurcating behind the pharynx, and coelomocytes containing opaque granules, but diVers from it in having the longest chaetae in preclitellar segments and gland cells distributed all over the spermathecal ectal ducts. Marionina righiana sp. n. is diagnosed by the location of the head pore on the prostomium, the absence of lateral chaetae from VIII ( VII or IX) onwards, the possession of free spermathecae extending backwards through one to four segments, the brain deeply incised posteriorly, the lumbricilline pattern of the dorsal blood vessel, and the opacity of coelomocytes in vivo. Prior to this study, members of the genus so atypical as M. righiana with respect to the position of the head pore and the structure of the spermathecae were known only from South American soils. Until the taxonomy of Marionina has been more thoroughly assessed and revised, the assignment of the four species to this large assemblage should be regarded as tentative.