Borojevia pirella

Van, Rob W. M. & De, Nicole J., 2018, Calcareous sponges of the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea, Zootaxa 4426 (1), pp. 1-160: 34-36

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Borojevia pirella


Borojevia pirella  sp.nov.

Figures 12a–b View Figure , 13a–e View Figure

Material examined. Holotype, RMNHAbout RMNH Por. 11622a, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Passe Baladirou , 19.6683°S 63.46307°E, depth 12 m, scuba, coll. N.J. de Voogd, field nr. ROG023, 16 October 2016.GoogleMaps 

Paratype, RMNHAbout RMNH Por. 11622b, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Passe Baladirou , 19.6683°S 63.46307°E, depth 12 m, scuba, coll. N.J. de Voogd, field nr. ROG023, 16 October 2016.GoogleMaps 

Description. Small pear-shaped cormus ( Figs 12a–b View Figure ) consisting of a mass of moderately tightly anastomosed tubuli separated by rounded or polyangular spaces. Color white, semitransparent. Size approximately 1.5 cm high, 1 cm in diameter. Tubuli approximately 0.2 mm in diameter. The narrow end is provided with an oscule of about 2 mm diameter, leading into a short water-collecting tube and a pseudoatrium. Preserved material consists of two specimens ( Figs 12a View Figure 1 View Figure , holotype, and 12b1, paratype), which collapsed to form flattened objects with soft consistency.

Aquiferous system. Asconoid.

Skeleton. The pseudoatrium has no special skeleton, it is merely a space between the anastomosed tubuli ( Fig. 13a View Figure ). The wall of these is thin, having one or two spicules comprising a mixture of triactines and tetractines, the latter with the apical actines protruding into the lumen of the tubuli.

Spicules. ( Figs 13b–e View Figure ) Triactines and tetractines of approximately the same size, no differentiated larger and smaller triactines are present.

Triactines ( Fig. 13b–c View Figure ) equiangular and equiradiate ( Fig. 13b View Figure ), with a tendency to become slightly sagittal, with a longer unpaired actine; occasionally triactines are irregular with one of the actines wavy and distinctly sagittal ( Fig. 13c View Figure ). Actine dimensions 51– 81.3 – 93 x 5 – 6.7 –8 µm.

Tetractines ( Fig. 13d–e View Figure ), similar in size and shape to the triactines ( Figs 13d View Figure ), with apical actines provided with three prominent conical spines in one verticil the position of which is matching the basal triradiate system ( Figs 13e View Figure ). Actines of the basal triadiate system 72– 85.7 – 96 x 5.5– 7.1 –8 µm, apical actines 31– 58.4 – 76 x 5 – 5.9 –7 µm.

Distribution and ecology. Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands, on coral reefs at 12 m depth.

Etymology. Pirella (L.), a feminine noun, meaning a small pear, referring to the habitus of the sponge.

Remarks. Despite the presence of a pseudoatrium and spined apical actines of the tetractines, molecular sequence data indicate clearly ( Fig. 2B View Figure ) that this species is closely related to Borojevia aff. cerebrum  and ‘ Ascaltis  OV-2012’, both reassigned to Borojevia  (cf. Klautau et al. 2016), and not to Ascaltis reticulum  . Voigt et al. ’s (2012) Australian species ‘ Ascaltis  OV 2012’ has a clear pseudoatrium illustrated in their Supporting Fig. S1 View Figure inset J, but its sequence is grouped unequivocally among the Borojevia  ’s in our Fig. 2B View Figure phylogeny. This justifies assignment of the present species to the genus Borojevia  . The triactine complement of B. pirella  sp.nov. does not contain any clear tripods, as is one of the additional features described for the genus Borojevia  . The presence of the pseudoatrium is shared with the above described B. tubulata  sp.nov., but apparently is absent in B. voigti  sp.nov. and other Borojevia  spp. The relationship with Ascaltis  remains unresolved. The three prominent spines on the apical actines of the tetractines are a special feature of the new species. It is shared with the recently described Brazilian Borojevia trispinata Azevedo et al., 2017  . This is generally similar in spicule sizes, but on average has slightly smaller actines. The habitus differs in lacking a central pseudoatrium and being more irregular in shape, not pear-shaped.

We obtained sequences for Borojevia tubulata  sp.nov. (both holotype and non-type Seychelles specimen, cf. above) and Borojevia pirella  sp.nov. (both holotype and paratype). We compared these with two sequences of Red Sea specimens of Borojevia aff. aspina  provided by Oliver Voigt in a separate restricted phylogenetic analysis. The aligned and trimmed sequences (length 426 sites) revealed that both identical sequences of B. pirella  sp.nov. showed 4–5 sites difference with B. aff. aspina sensu Voigt et al. 2017  , 12–22 sites difference with B. tubulata  sp.nov. (the higher difference being with the Seychelles specimen, as the holotype and Voigt’s Borojevia  sp. have identical sequences). It may be concluded that the new species and Borojevia aff. aspina  are more closely related than each of them with B. tubulata  sp.nov.

Molecular comparison of B. pirella  sp.nov. with the similar Brazilian species B. trispinata  is complicated by differences in the target genes (our 28S vs Azevedo et al. 2017 ’s ITS). In a special effort, we obtained additional ITS data for B. pirella  sp.nov. and aligned two ITS sequences (holotype and paratype, which appeared to be identical, not submitted to GenBank) with two sequences of B. trispinata  downloaded from GenBank (UFRJPOR6419 and 6487, showing several site differences). A trimmed 792 sites alignment of the four sequences shows considerable differences (25 non–conserved sites differed between the two species, not counting a gap of 27 sites). Nevertheless, the morphological resemblance of the two species from the Western Indian Ocean and the Western Atlantic Ocean region is striking.


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis