Leucaltis nodusgordii ( Poléjaeff, 1883 )

Van, Rob W. M. & De, Nicole J., 2018, Calcareous sponges of the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea, Zootaxa 4426 (1), pp. 1-160: 66-70

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Leucaltis nodusgordii ( Poléjaeff, 1883 )


Leucaltis nodusgordii ( Poléjaeff, 1883) 

Figures 37a–e View Figure , 38a–f View Figure .

Heteropegma nodusgordii Poléjaeff, 1883  (in part, only the Torres Strait material): 45, pl. I fig. 7, pl. IV figs 1a–d.

Leucaltis clathria  ; Dendy 1913: 16, pl. 1 figs 1–2; Hôzawa 1940: 136, pl. VI fig. 3; Wörheide & Hooper 1999: 876, figs 7I –S (not: Haeckel 1872).

Leucaltis nodusgordii  ; Van Soest & De Voogd 2015: 39, figs 28a–c, 29a–d, 30a–e (with further synonyms).

Material examined. ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 12436, Seychelles, Amirantes, Desroches Atoll, SW rim, outer reef slope, 5.7167°S 53.6167°E, depth 5–30 m, scuba, coll. M.J. de Kluijver, field nr. NIOP-E stat. 774/03, 30 December 1992; ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 12443, Seychelles, Amirantes, Poivre Atoll, N rim, outer reef slope, 5.7333°S 53.3167°E, depth 7–8 m, scuba, coll. R.W.M. van Soest, field nr. NIOP-E stat. 768/08, 31 December 1992; ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 16248, Seychelles, Mahé, SE coast, Anse Royale Bay, 4.7333°S 55.5167°E, depth 2–13 m, scuba, coll. R.W.M. van Soest, field nr. NIOP-E stat. 740/04, 24 December 1992; ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 20623, Seychelles, Mahé, NE Point, 4.5833°S 55.4667°E, depth 0–5 m, snorkling, coll. R.W.M. van Soest, field nr. NIOP-E stat. 604, 8 December 1992.

Description. Because this species has been treated recently in Van Soest & De Voogd (2015), we refrain from extensively describing the Seychelles material. The species forms masses of loosely anastomosed tubes ( Fig. 37a View Figure ), size up to 3 x 4 cm, individual tubes approximately 0.5 cm in diameter. Color pale blue or bluish white in situ, white in preservation. Some of the tubes have open endings, presumably oscules. Consistency fragile, surface optically smooth, but feels rough.

Aquiferous system. Elongate, ramified choanocyte chambers, supported by small equiangular spicules.

Skeleton. ( Figs 37–e View Figure ) In cross section ( Fig. 37b View Figure ) from outside to atrium, there is a cortical skeleton of giant tri- and tetractines ( Fig. 37c View Figure ), a choanosomal skeleton ( Fig. 37d View Figure ) of small thin equiangular and equiradiate tri- and tetractines, and an atrial membrane ( Fig. 37e View Figure ) supported by small sagittal (‘abruptly’-angled) tri- and tetractines.

Spicules. ( Figs 38a–f View Figure ) Giant tri- and tetractines, small regular tri- and tetractines, small sagittal tri- and tetractines.

Giant tetractines ( Figs 38a View Figure ), quite variable in size, similar in shape and size to the giant triactines, actines 144– 571 – 1020 x 18 – 79.8 –126 µm.

Giant triactines ( Figs 38b View Figure ), quite variable in size, equiangular and equiradiate, with thick conical actines measuring 102– 505 –960 x 14 – 60.2 –138 µm.

Regular equiangular equiradiate tetractines ( Fig. 38c View Figure ), with thin cylindrical actines; basal radiate actines 60– 73 – 84 x 2 – 2.4 –4 µm, with apical actines 9– 20.7 – 28 x 2 – 2.1 –3 µm.

Regular equiangular equiradiate triactines ( Fig. 38d View Figure ), with thin cylindrical actines measuring 59– 66.9 – 78 x 2 – 2.1 –3 µm.

Sagittal, abruptly angled tetractines ( Fig. 38e View Figure ), with unpaired actines 39– 57 – 69 x 2.5– 3.5 –5 µm, paired actines 60– 69 – 84 x 2 – 3.4 –5 µm, apical actines 18– 29.8 – 45 x 2 – 2.9 –5 µm.

Sagittal, abruptly angled triactines ( Fig. 38f View Figure ), similar to the sagittal tetractines, with unpaired actines 36– 50 – 63 x 2 – 2.8 –4.5 µm, paired actines 54– 64 – 81 x 2 – 3.1 –4.5 µm.

Distribution and ecology. Seychelles, Cargados Carajos, Australia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, on reefs at depths down to 88 m.

Remarks. The data for the Seychelles specimens closely conform to those of the Indonesian material described by us recently. Size of the Seychelles specimens is smaller than the Indonesian ones, but individual tubes are similar in both. The giant tetractines of the Indonesian specimens were reported as somewhat larger. Unfortunately, Dendy’s (1905) record of this species from Sri Lanka was not described, so we do not know whether this inbetween locality had inbetween sizes.

We obtained sequences of an Indonesian specimen described in our 2015 paper ( RMNHAbout RMNH Por. 1772) and two of the Seychelles specimen ( ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 12436 and 12443) treated here. We also downloaded longer 28S sequences from GenBank of a Panamanian (Caribbean) Leucaltis  sp. = L. clathria ( Haeckel, 1872)  , proclaimed a different species by us (Van Soest & De Voogd, 2015; Van Soest, 2017), and two Australian sequences named L. clathria ( Haeckel, 1872)  (acc.nrs. JQ272302 and AY563542), which are assumed to be conspecific with Indonesian and Seychelles specimens of L. nodusgordii  . As the detailed relationships between these specimens are not clearly apparent in Fig. 2B View Figure , we did a separate analysis of the aligned and trimmed sequences of these six specimens (alignment length 369 sites), which showed 21 non-conserved sites. Where the maximum site difference between the five sequences from the Indo-West Pacific was 6 or less, the Panamanian sequence had 11 unique nonconserved sites, along with two non-conserved sites shared with Indonesia and one with Australia. This supports the previously claimed separate specific status of the Caribbean Leucaltis  populations, even though the differences among the specimens are not significant enough to show up in the phylogenetic analysis of our Fig. 2B. View Figure

A possible junior synonym of Leucaltis nodusgordii  is Leucaltis bathybia var. mascarenica Ridley, 1884  , reported from the Amirantes, very near to two of our collected specimens ( ZMAAbout ZMA Por. 12436 and 12443). Ridley’s description of the habit and the large tetractines sounds close to our material, but there is not sufficient information to be certain. Leucaltis bathybia Haeckel, 1872  from 600 m depth in the Red Sea is not conspecific judging from its description (see also below). It is assigned to Leucandra  at present (see Van Soest et al. 2018), but the predominance of large tetractines makes it more likely that it belongs to Leucilla  . L. bathybia  was associated with Sycettusa  (Calcaronea, Heteropiidae  ) by Burton (1963, p. 318) but this cannot be accepted.


Universiteit van Amsterdam, Zoologisch Museum


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis














Leucaltis nodusgordii ( Poléjaeff, 1883 )

Van, Rob W. M. & De, Nicole J. 2018


Leucaltis clathria

Hôzawa 1940 : 136 Wörheide & Hooper 1999 : 876