Sediment traps were placed in the water column both inside and in the vicinity of three northwestern Mediterranean submarine canyons. The sediment traps with 12 rotary collectors were deployed on mooring lines 30 and 500 m above the sea floor, and were sampled fortnightly. Polychaete worms (Anelida) and hydromedusae (Cnidaria) were the most abundant zoological taxa captured. Whereas hydromedusae and three of the polychaete species were clearly planktonic organisms, 16 polychaete species were adult benthic forms without special adaptations for swimming, and sometimes also had a large biomass. Four of the 19 polychaete species are described as new species: Aricidea (Allia) longisetosa sp. nov., Paradoneis hirsuta sp. nov., Ophelina margaleffi sp. nov., and Exogone (Parexogone) canyonincolae sp. nov. The rich collection of polychaetes obtained leads us to postulate that these animals are supported by a continuous flux of organic matter, and that they are adapted to the rigorous physical conditions that may occur between the seafloor and the bottom water.