Reevaluation of Stalked Aplysinid Sponges, with Description of a New Species from the Upper Bahamian Slope
A new aplysinid sponge, Aplysina bathyphila n. sp., is described from the upper Bahamian slope, where its populations show a stenobathic distribution limited to the range between 60 and 150 m deep. The species is characterized morphologically by a stalked, goblet-shaped body and a large oscular diaphragm. The sponge body is hollow, having a spacious atrial cavity that becomes a narrow canal extending the whole length of the stalk. The skeleton is a highly regular network of hexagonal meshes built with a single type of laminated, pithed fibers, as is typically in the genus Aplysina. Choanocyte chambers are spherical. Apart from A. bathyphila, two other stalk bearing species had previously been described in the genus, Aplysina pedunculata and Aplysina aztecus. However, on the basis of skeletal traits, we conclude that A. bathyphila is the only stalked sponge belonging to the genus Aplysina. Aplysina pedunculata and A. aztecus, characterized by a nearly dendritic pattern of fibers with a highly developed pith, are transferred to the genus Suberea in the Family Aplysinellidae.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1998
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