Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 4 (2007)

The occurrence of pycnogonids associated with the volcanic structures of Bransfield Strait central basin (Antarctica)

Tomás Munilla
Laboratori de Zoologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Anna Soler-Membrives
Laboratori de Zoologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain


Fifty-four specimens of pycnogonids belonging to twenty-two species, eight genera and six families were collected with a rocky dredge during the cruise Gebrap-96 in the central basin of Bransfield Strait, from depths between 647 and 1592 m. The richest station in terms of abundance and biomass was DR6 (south of Livingston Island), which was also the shallowest one; at this relatively shallow depth food is more available than in deeper waters. The families Nymphonidae and Colossendeidae had the same number of specimens (21 specimens; 39% abundance each). The most abundant species were Nymphon villosum and N. proximum. Pallenopsis buphthalmus was collected for only the third time. The collections increased the geographical distribution of three species and the depth range of six species. The volcanic structures sampled were inactive during 1996, since none of the specimens showed signs of hydrothermal phenomena. This collection was typically representative of the west Antarctic benthic zone.


Antarctic waters; Bransfield Strait; Gebrap-96 Cruise; Pycnogonida; volcanic structures

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