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Free Content Cnidae of the Brazilian Mussidae (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) and Their Value in Taxonomy

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The cnidae of four species of Mussidae are described and illustrated. Both Weill's (1934) nematocyst nomenclature, later modified by Carlgren (1940), and Schmidt's (1969; 1972; 1974) were used. Three species belonging to the endemic Brazilian genus Mussismilia Ortmann, 1890, M. hispida (Verrill, 1902), M. hartti (Verrill, 1868) and M. braziliensis (Verrill, 1868), and one belonging to the world wide genus Scolymia Haime, 1852, S. wellsi Laborel, 1967, were studied. Specimens from different localities of the Brazilian coast were observed. Qualitative analysis of their cnidae showed that all the species studied present the same types and distributions of nematocysts, Five types were observed (sensu Schmidt): spirocysts, holotrichs I, holotrichs II, b-rhabdoids, and p-rhabdoids D. Some types presented morphological varieties considered as sub-types. Four structural regions were examined: coenosarc/edge zone, acrospheres, stomodaeum and mesenterial filaments. The nematocysts of a planula of S. wellsi were also observed. Qualitative and quantitative size analysis of cnidae showed differences at generic level only. The qualitative difference observed was that Mussismilia presents two size classes of p-rhabdoids D in the mesenterial filaments, while in Scolymia there is only one. Quantitative size analysis was performed using nested analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the procedure of Student-Newman-Keuls (Sokal and Rohlf, 1979). These tests suggested that the size of three types of nematocysts can differentiate the two genera: b-rhabdoids from stomodaeum and holotrichs I and II from the mesenterial filaments. The importance of morphometries in the study of coral cnidae is supported.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1992

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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