Aulospongus mandela, Cavalcanti & Santos & Pinheiro, 2014

Cavalcanti, Thaynã, Santos, George Garcia & Pinheiro, Ulisses, 2014, Two new species of Aulospongus Norman, 1878 with a key to the Atlantic species (Poecilosclerida; Demospongiae; Porifera), Zootaxa 3827 (2), pp. 282-292: 288-290

publication ID

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Aulospongus mandela

sp. nov.

Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov.

( Figures 4–5 View FIGURE 4 View FIGURE 5 , Table 1–2)

Type locality. Brazil, Rio Grande do Norte State, Potiguar Basin   .

Type specimens. Holotype. UFPEPOR 1524, Bacia Potiguar (04º 44.8945' S; 036º 25.4571' W), Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, depth 108 m, trawl, Bombona 39, col. Petrobras, (23/05/2011) GoogleMaps   . Paratypes: UFPEPOR 1525, 1526 and MNRJ 17488 View Materials (collected together with the holotype); UFPEPOR 1522, Bacia Potiguar (04º 36.7198' S; 036º 46.7554' W), Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, depth 140 m, trawl, Bombona 29, col. Petrobras, (22/05/2011); GoogleMaps   UFPEPOR 1550, Bacia Potiguar (04° 41.2366’ S; 036° 34.9227’ W), Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, depth 143 m, trawl, AR53 A, col. Petrobras, (06/12/2009) GoogleMaps   .

Diagnosis. Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov. is the only Aulospongus   in the Atlantic with two categories of rhabdostyles, the presence of anisoxeas, and with fan-shaped or vasiform morphology.

External morphology ( Fig. 4A–C View FIGURE 4 ). Fan-shaped or vasiform, 4 x 3 x 0.5 cm (length x height x width), velvety surface ( Fig. 4B–C View FIGURE 4 ) and elastic consistency, not easily torn. The points of the spicules are inside the fibres or protruding externally (as discrete conules) ( Fig. 4C View FIGURE 4 ). Colour in life is unknown and brownish-purple in ethanol. The specimens were collected in the same conditions of Aulospongus trirhabdostylus   sp. nov. explained above.

Skeleton ( Fig. 4D View FIGURE 4 ). There is no special ectosomal skeleton. The choanosomal skeleton has fibres and spicule tracts amalgamated into bundles, composed of bulbous spongin fibres cored and echinated by rhabdostyles in plumose tracts, forming individual plumose ascending branches, and terminating as surface lobes.

Spicules ( Fig. 5A–D View FIGURE 5 ). Ectosomal auxiliary anisoxeas (244– 297.9 –366 / 2– 3.4 – 4.8 µm): long, thin, smooth, straight to slightly curved, with distinct ends (one sharply pointed and the other styloid) ( Fig. 5A View FIGURE 5 ); Choanosomal principal rhabdostyles (rhabdostyles I) (146– 186.8 –231 / 5– 10.3 – 15 µm): with a smooth base, microspined (hookshaped spines) from the centre to the apical region, straight to curved and with a slightly curved (rhabd) near the base ( Fig. 5B View FIGURE 5 ); Echinating rhabdostyles (rhabdostyles II) (78– 107.5 –141 / 2– 5.3 – 9 µm): small, usually straight, some spicules are slightly curved near the base (rhabd) and with microspines diffusely distributed, and the basal spines are smaller than others ( Fig. 5C–D View FIGURE 5 ).

Distribution ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ). Brazil: Northeastern Region: Rio Grande do Norte State: off Bacia Potiguar.

Depth. 108–143 m.

Etymology. This species is named in honor of the Late Nelson Mandela who was a South African antiapartheid revolutionary, politician and President of South Africa.

Remarks. Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov. belongs to the genus in having rhabdostyles, and a plumose choanosomal skeleton with fibers ascending to the periphery. Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov. differs from other Atlantic species ( A. monticularis   , A. phakelloides   , A. samariensis   , A. spinosus   and Aulospongus trirhabdostylus   sp. nov.) in the following characters: Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov. has two categories of rhabdostyles, while A. trirhabdostylus   sp. nov. has three categories. In addition, the former has a fan-shaped or vasiform growth form while the latter has a massive arborescent growth form (see Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 and 5 View FIGURE 5 ). Aulospongus monticularis   has massive to bulbous-encrusting growth form, rhabdostyles I are completely smooth and extra-axial styles are present. Aulospongus phakelloides   also has a fan-shaped growth form but lacks anisoxeas. Aulospongus samariensis   has a cylindrical or club-shaped growth form, styles, and only one category of echinating rhabdostyles. Aulospongus spinosus   has a bulbous shape, raphides, completely smooth rhabdostyles but lacks anisoxeas (see Table 2). The most similar species to Aulospongus mandela   sp. nov. is A. involutus ( Kirkpatrick, 1903)   from the Indian Ocean, with both species sharing the morphology of rhabdostyles I and vasiform shape. However, the species differ in others aspects: spicules size (see Table 2) and two categories of anisoxeas in A. involutus   . Finally, A. involutus   is known only from the Indian Ocean, making conspecificity highly improbable.