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New freshwater sponge from the Venezuelan Andes

Added on 2017-11-06 11:01:48 by Boury-Esnault, Nicole
Hernandez, V.M.Q; Barreat, J.G.N. (2017). Racekiela andina sp. nov. (Spongillida: Spongillidae): first report of a freshwater sponge from the Venezuelan Andes. Zootaxa 4341 (2): 275–278
The genus Racekiela Bass & Volkmer-Ribeiro, 1998 comprises six species of freshwater sponges distributed along the Palaearctic, Nearctic and Neotropical regions (Van Soest et al. 2017). They are characterized by an isodictyal skeleton solely of acanthoxeas, sparse spongin fibers, and tri-layered gemmules with radially embedded gemmoscleres of two types, short birotules and long pseudobirotules (Manconi & Pronzato 2002; Volkmer-Ribeiro & Machado 2007). Four species occur in the Northern Hemisphere: R. biceps (Lindenschmidt, 1950) from Michigan (Lindenschmidt 1950), R. pictouensis (Potts, 1885) from eastern Canada to New York (Penney & Racek 1968), R. ryderii (Potts, 1882) which ranges from eastern North America to the British Isles, Faroes and Norway (Manconi & Pronzato 2002), and the recently described R. montemflumina Carballo, Cruz-Barraza, Yáñez & Gómez, 2017 from Northwestern Mexico (Carballo et al. 2017). It is worthy to note that R. pictouensis is considered to be an ecomorph of R. ryderii by several authors (Porrier 1977; Ricciardi & Reiswig 1993). The other two species, R. cavernicola (Volkmer-Ribeiro, Bichuette & Machado, 2010) and R. sheilae (Volkmer-Ribeiro, De Rosa-Barbosa & Tavares, 1988), are both known only from Brazil (Volkmer-Ribeiro & Machado 2007; Volkmer-Ribeiro et al. 2010). Here we describe a new member of the genus, found in lakes of high-mountain ecosystems, or páramos, in the Cordillera de Mérida. This constitutes the first record of specimens belonging to Racekiela for the Andes and Venezuela.


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