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First record of the genus Rhaphidhistia in the Caribbean Sea

Added on 2013-08-28 09:20:56 by Boury-Esnault, Nicole
Díaz, C.M.; Zea, S. 2013. First record of the Indo-Pacific sponge genus Rhaphidhistia (Demospongiae, Hadromerida, Trachycladidae) from the Caribbean Sea, with description of a new species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, doi:10.1017/S0025315413000970
Exploration of continental shelves may produce unexpected faunal records. In shelf waters of La Guajira peninsula, Colombia, in the northern tip of South America, southern Caribbean Sea, we found a new species of Rhaphidhistia (Demospongiae, Hadromerida, Trachycladidae) a genus previously thought to be restricted to the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Rhaphidhistia guajiraensis sp. nov. is thickly encrusting, agglutinating bottom debris; it possesses asymmetric oxea as megascleres (465–757mm by 6.3–17.5 mm) and spiraster-like spinispirae (15–37 mm by 2–5 mm). It is closely similar to the type species of the genus, R. spectabilis Carter, 1879, both standing apart from a third species, R. mirabilis (Dendy, 1924), thus conforming a natural group whose taxonomic placement needs to be reassessed. There are numerous cases of sponge genera with sister species in the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, possibly split since the Tethys Sea breakup; owing to their restricted or deep distribution, they are just starting to be discovered.


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