In this paper we review the systematics, diversity, and ecology of two related annelid families: Opheliidae Malmgren, 1867 and Scalibregmatidae Malmgren, 1867. Opheliids are deposit-feeders and that are mainly found as burrowers in sandy sediments. Morphologically, opheliids are characterized by the smooth cuticle, as well as the presence of a conspicuous ventral groove, reduced parapodia, and a tubular-shaped structure often projecting from the posterior end. Scalibregmatids are also deposit-feeders, but compared to opheliids, they have a characteristic arenicoliform body, a T-shaped anterior end and a glandular, reticulated epidermis. For each family, we summarize the available information about the evolutionary relationships, taxonomic history, geographical distribution, ecological preferences and diversity of life strategies along with the techniques most commonly used for their study. By highlighting the main gaps in knowledge on each of these topics, this review ultimately aims at stimulating further research into members of these two families in the future.
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