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New species of invertebrates discovered in the Antarctic

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posted on May, 26 2010 @ 12:47 PM
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New species of invertebrates discovered in the Antarctic




The polyps of two new gorgonia discovered, Tauroprimnoa austasensis and Digitogorgia kuekenthali, in the region of Austasen, in the Eastern Weddell Sea, and to the south-east of the Falklands and Isla Nueve (in Chilean Patagonia) respectively, are small and elongated, which is nothing special, but both species stand out for the number, shape and layout of the scales of calcium carbonate that cover the polyps, and for the type of ramification of the colonies.

"The Tauroprimnoa are characterized by being colonies in the shape of a brush, with simple branches and whose polyps arranged in whorls, have only four marginal scales. The rest of the polyp is covered by five longitudinal rows of scales. The sight is reminiscent of a bull, hence the name", Rebeca Zapata-Guardiola, main author of the study and researcher in the department for Physiology and Zoology at the US, describes to SINC.




The four gorgonea of Atka Bay


The other four species discovered in the area of the South Georgia islands and in Atka bay in the Antarctic region –Thouarella bayeri, Thouarella sardana, Thouarella undulata, and Thouarella andeep- are made up of, like the others of their kind, eight rows of scales that cover the surface of the polyp.


"The differences are found in the ramification pattern of the colonies, in the layout of the polyps in the branches and in the shape and ornamentation of the scales of the polyp", Zapata-Guardiola indicates. This second investigation, published in the journal Scientia Marina, has revealed the presence of incidental opercular scales on the polyps of the gorgonea, located in an inner cycle, and already observed in 1908 by the Japanese Kino#a. This could indicate that the number of scales has been reduced during its evolution. However, "up until now they hadn't been observed again in any other species of the genus", the biologist points out.


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