A new primnoid genus (Anthozoa: Octocorallia) from the Southern Ocean
Keywords:Southern Ocean, Antarctica, biodiversity, new genus, Arntzia
A new primnoid genus is here proposed based on the study of the type material of Primnoella gracilis Molander, 1929 and the abundant material collected during some recent Antarctic and Subantarctic cruises. The new genus, Arntzia, is compared with its closest primnoid genera, mainly Ainigmaptilon Dean and Primnoella Gray. Arntzia differs from other unbranched primnoids by a set of features such as its colonies of fleshy consistence, relatively low spicule density, polyps in whorls, fused basally, forming a common brood-chamber along the axial coenenchyme where oocytes develop, eight distalmost opercular scales larger than marginal or submarginal scales, two adaxial opercular scales smaller than the others, marginal scales in equal number to opercular, vertically aligned with opercular scales, not well-differentiated from the body scales below, and polyp body completely covered by scales, except for the proximal portion and basal part of the adaxial side. With the description of Arntzia, a total of 17 primnoid genera have been reported from the Southern Ocean (Antarctic and Subantarctic waters); moreover, 15 of them -50% of the total in the family- have been recorded exclusively in this area. Thus, the generic diversity of this family in the Southern Ocean should be considered remarkably high.
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