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Free-living benthic marine invertebrates in Chile


A comprehensive literature review was conducted to determine the species richness of all the possible taxa of free-living benthic marine invertebrates in Chile. In addition, the extent of endemism to the Pacific Islands and deep-sea, the number of non-indigenous species, and the contribution that the Chilean benthic marine invertebrate fauna makes to the world benthic marine invertebrate fauna was examined. A total of 4,553 species were found. The most speciose taxa were the Crustacea, Mollusca and Polychaeta. Species richness data was not available for a number of taxa, despite evidence that these taxa are present in the Chilean benthos. The Chilean marine invertebrate benthic fauna constitutes 2.47 % of the world marine invertebrate benthic fauna. There are 599 species endemic to the Pacific Islands and 205 in the deep-sea. There are 25 invasive or non-indigenous species so far identified in Chile. Though the Chilean fauna is speciose there is still a considerable amount of diversity yet to be described, particularly amongst the small bodied invertebrates and from the less well explored habitats, such as the deep-sea.

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Lee, M.R., Clarke, M., Fernandez, M.E., Gonzalez, C., Rozbaczylo, N., Valdovinos, C., Hermosilla, C., Prado, L. & Castilla, J.C., (2008) Diversity of free-living benthic marine invertebrates in Chile. Revista Chilena Historia Natural. 81: 51-67.