The polychaetous annelids of the east coast of North America remain largely unknown except through many early original descriptions. Verrill's checklist (1879) enumerated almost 200 species; the same list later annotated by R. Rathbun [unpublished] at the U. S. National Museum, lists a total of 263 species from this area; other names have been added between the years 1880 and 1910. Valuable contributions to the annelid literature of eastern America were made largely by Verrill (1873 to 1901), Webster (1879 to 1887), Webster and Benedict (1884 to 1887), Andrews (1891 to 1894), Moore (1894 to 1909), Bush (1904 to 1910), and others. Much of the older literature has been brought together in Verrill's "New England Annelida" (1882) and Sumner's "Biological Survey of the Woods Hole Area" (1913). Through these various studies, about 300 species have been described, or reported, from eastern North America; many, however, remain poorly known. Also, since 1900 the bulk of scientific literature on the polychaetous annelids has increased many fold; generic and specific refinements have been necessitated; many new species have been described from all parts of the world, and the affinities of faunas of widely scattered areas have been made the subject of intensive research. It has been greatly desired, therefore, to reidentify as many as possible of these older species, and to establish their affinities with those of other areas. In many instances this is now difficult without access to type specimens or authentically labelled materials. Most of such collections, if still extant, are believed to be stored in depositories in eastern America, largely in the National collections at Washington, D. C., the Peabody Museum of Natural History at New Haven, and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia.
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