Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No 4 (2013)

Spinaxinus (Bivalvia: Thyasiroidea) from sulfide biogenerators in the Gulf of Mexico and hydrothermal vents in the Fiji Back Arc: chemosymbiosis and taxonomy

P. Graham Oliver
BioSyB, National Museum of Wales, United Kingdom

Clara F. Rodrigues
Departamento de Biologia and CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal

Robert Carney
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, United States

Sebastien Duperron
UMR 7138 (UPMC CNRS IRD MNHN), Systématique, Adaptation, Evolution, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France


Two new species of the thyasirid genus Spinaxinus (S. emicatus Oliver n. sp. and S. phrixicus Oliver n. sp.) are described from the Gulf of Mexico and the southwest Pacific, respectively. Both are compared with the type species of the genus, the eastern Atlantic S. sentosus Oliver and Holmes, 2006. Living specimens from the Gulf of Mexico were retrieved from artificial sulfide bio-generators on the upper Louisiana Slope. Gill morphology and molecular markers from the symbiotic bacteria confirm that Spinaxinus is chemosynthetic and that the chemoautotrophic bacteria are related to sulfide oxidizing Gammaproteobacteria. Living specimens from the southwest Pacific were retrieved from hydrothermal vent sites in the Fiji and Lau Back Arc Basins. In the Atlantic Spinaxinus is now recorded from two anthropogenic situations and appears to be generally absent from natural cold seep sites and not yet recorded at any hydrothermal sites. The primarily anthropogenic distribution of Spinaxinus in the Atlantic is discussed with reference to the natural hydrothermal vent habitat of the Pacific S. phrixicus.


Thyasiroidea; taxonomy; chemosymbiosis; anthropogenic settings; hydrothermal vents

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