Bioluminescence, a phenomenon observed widely in organisms ranging from bacteria to metazoans, has a significant impact on the behaviour and ecology of organisms. Among bioluminescent organisms, Polycirrus, which has unique emission wavelengths, has received attention, and advanced studies such as RNA-Seq have been conducted, but they are limited to a few cases. In addition, accurate species identification is difficult due to lack of taxonomic organization. In this study, we conducted comprehensive taxonomic survey of Japanese Polycirrus based on multiple specimens from different locations and described as three new species: Polycirrus onibi sp. nov., P. ikeguchii sp. nov. and P. aoandon sp. nov. The three species can be distinguished from the known species based on the following characters: (i) arrangement of mid-ventral groove, (ii) arrangement of notochaetigerous segments, (iii) type of neurochaetae uncini, and (iv) arrangement of nephridial papillae. By linking the bioluminescence phenomenon with taxonomic knowledge, we established a foundation for future bioluminescent research development. We also provide a brief phylogenetic tree based on cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences to discuss the evolution of bioluminescence and the direction of future research.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.