Oswaldella terranovae Peña Cantero & Vervoort, 1996

Cantero, A. L. Peña & Molinero, A. González, 2018, On several species of Oswaldella Stechow, 1919 (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa), including the description of a new species, Zootaxa 4457 (3), pp. 397-414: 402-407

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Oswaldella terranovae Peña Cantero & Vervoort, 1996


Oswaldella terranovae Peña Cantero & Vervoort, 1996 

( Figs 4–5View FIGURE 4View FIGURE 5)

Oswaldella terranovae Peña CanTerO & VerVOOrT, 1996  : 136–138, fig. 1; 1998: 37; 2004: 850; Peña CanTerO et al., 1997: 344; Peña CanTerO & García CarrascOsa, 1999: 214; Peña CanTerO & Marques, 1999: 85; Peña CanTerO & GOnzález MOlinerO, 2015: 439; Peña CanTerO, 2017: 60.

Oswaldella antarctica  —TOTTOn, 1930: 209–210, fig. 51.

Oswaldella stepanjanti El Beshbeeshy, 1991: 263  , 265 (incOrrecT Original spelling); Miranda et al., 2016: 596 – 597.

Oswaldella stepanjantsae Peña  CanTerO et al., 1997: 344, 376–380, figs 11, 15D; Peña CanTerO & VerVOOrT, 1998: 36; 2004: 847–850, fig. 15; Peña CanTerO & García CarrascOsa, 1999: 214; Peña CanTerO & Marques, 1999: 85; Peña CanTerO et al., 2010: 41–57; Peña CanTerO, 2013: 130; 2014c: 1721, fig. 4g; 2017: 60, fig. 19B; GOnzález MOlinerO & Peña CanTerO, 2015: 419–422, 438, figs 13, 16M, 18E, 20D; Miranda et al., 2016: 596 – 597.

Oswaldella antarctica  – BrOch, 1948: 13 –16, fig. 4a; STepanjanTs, 1979: 112, pl. 21 fig. 5.

Oswaldella antarctica  p.p. NaumOV & STepanjanTs, 1972: 52, fig. 14a, b.

Material examined. Syntypes, British Antarctic Terra  Nova Expedition, 1910–1913, Stn 220, 2 January 1912, off Cape Adare, Ross Sea, 82 – 92 m, nine microscope slides, four with stem fragments and five with hydrocladia (1929.10.28.171, labelled n° 2), numerous stem fragments up to 180 mm high ( NHMAbout NHM 1929.10.28.173), and a tuft of stems at least 150 mm high ( NHMAbout NHM 1929.10.28.174).

Other material previously identified as O. stepanjantsae  : United States Antarctic Research Program (USARP): Stn 691/26, Hero  , 10 February 1969, 63°26’–63°25’S, 62°15’–62°14’W (south of Low Island, Antarctic Peninsula), 119–124 m, numerous fragments up to 220 mm long (USNM 1003370); Stn 833/018–1, Hero  , 1 April 1983, 62°41.50’S, 56°01.75’W (off Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands), 210–240 m, one stem ca. 500 mm high (USNM 1003372). New Zealand Antarctic Expedition TAN0802: Stn 17, Tangaroa  , 9 February 2008, 73.1245°S, 174.3205°E (Ross Sea, Cape Adare), 321 m, a few stems and fragments, up to 470 mm high (NIWA 35451).

Description from the syntypes. Stems at least 180 mm high, thick and dark brown, basally polysiphonic. Stem divided into short and wide internodes, usually with two apophyses, but internodes with four or six apophyses also present. Nodes sometimes obscure and often incomplete. Cauline apophyses strongly directed upwards, frequently followed by a few short athecate internodes. Hydrocladia initially also strongly directed upwards, curving outward later.

Cauline apophyses with four to six axillary nematophores, each emerging through a perisarc hole ( Fig. 4BView FIGURE 4), occasionally with extremely short collar-shaped nematotheca, and two extra nematophores, each emerging through a strongly marked ‘mamelon’ ( Fig. 4BView FIGURE 4).

Hydrocladia much branched ( Fig. 4AView FIGURE 4), typically with two third-order hydrocladia, although up to six thirdorder hydrocladia observed. First hydrocladial internode bifurcated, with two similar prongs ( Fig. 4AView FIGURE 4). Mesial inferior nematophore emerging from marked swelling at proximal third of internode ( Fig. 4C–EView FIGURE 4); with nail-shaped nematotheca ( Fig. 4C–FView FIGURE 4). Hydrotheca elongate, placed on middle of internode. Abcauline wall roughly straight, but usually slightly bent abcaudally at distal part. Adcauline wall mostly adnate, but with distinct free part ( Fig. 4DView FIGURE 4). Hydrothecal aperture circular, perpendicular to longitudinal axis of internode ( Fig. 4C–EView FIGURE 4); rim even ( Fig. 4C, EView FIGURE 4). In frontal view, diameter of hydrotheca increasing distally up to the middle, then roughly constant but markedly widening at aperture, producing a sort of neck with flared rim ( Fig. 4C, EView FIGURE 4).

Gonothecae immaure, cone-shaped.

Remarks. We observed a maximum of five axillary nematophores in the examined cauline apophyses of the type material, although one or two of the central nematophores are frequently distinctly larger and have a central constriction, which may indicate that they result from the fusion of two.

The description of Oswaldella terranovae  was based on a series of ten microscope slides ( BMNH 1929.10.28.171) belonging to the material from the British Antarctic Terra  Nova Expedition assigned to Oswaldella antarctica ( Jäderholm, 1904)  by Totton (1930). According to Peña Cantero & Vervoort (1996) the cauline apophyses were provided with two axillary nematophores emerging through perisarc holes and two nematophores emerging through ‘mamelons’ placed on the upper part and near the distal end of the apophyses. The SEM study carried out here has shown that O. terranovae  has 4 to perhaps 6 axillary nematophores (we observed up to five, but it is likely that other cauline apophyses have six). The fact that the cauline apophyses lie closely on the cauline internodes makes it very difficult to observe the axillary nematophores, much more when the material available is in slides, as when Peña Cantero & Vervoort (1996) described the species.

It has always been difficult to distinguish between Oswaldella stepanjantsae  and O. terranovae  because of their similarity in colony structure and in the shape and size of their hydrothecae. Peña Cantero & Vervoort (1996: 138) already indicated that O. stepanjantsae  ‘resembles O. terranovae  in almost all its characteristics’. According to these authors both have ‘robust colonies, stems of lower order, the stems divided into internodes, usually short athecate internodes following the cauline apophyses and hydrocladia of the third order’ (see also Peña Cantero et al. 1997). Peña Cantero et al. (1997) highlighted a few differences between the species, the most important of which was the apparent presence of two axillary nematophores in O. terranovae  and four in O. stepanjantsae  . Later, however, it was demonstrated that O. stepanjantsae  can have up to six axillary nematophores (cf. Peña Cantero & Vervoort 2004; González Molinero & Peña Cantero 2015)] and, as it has been shown in this study, O. terranovae  actually has up to five, probably six. As a result, this character can no longer be used to distinguish them.

We conclude that no differences exist between the type materials of O. terranovae  and O. stepanjantsae  , and maintain that there is no justification for recognizing them as distinct species. We are here considering O. stepanjantsae  a junior synonym of O. terranovae  . See Miranda et al. (2016) for a discussion about the correct authorship for O. stepanjantsae  .

Even though the gonothecae in the type material of O. terranovae  are immature [see fig. 1h in Peña Cantero & Vervoort (1996)], mature gonothecae have been described in material identified as O. stepanjantsae  [see for example, fig. 11G – H in Peña Cantero et al. (1997)].

Distribution. Circum-Antarctic. Oswaldella terranovae  had only been reported off Cape Adare (Totton 1930; Peña Cantero & Vervoort 1996), but O. stepanjantsae  has been considered to have a circum-Antarctic distribution (Peña Cantero & Vervoort 1998).


University of Nottingham














Oswaldella terranovae Peña Cantero & Vervoort, 1996

Cantero, A. L. Peña & Molinero, A. González 2018


Oswaldella stepanjanti

El Beshbeeshy, 1991 : 263 Miranda et al., 2016 : 596


Oswaldella stepanjantsae Peña

Miranda et al., 2016 : 596


Oswaldella antarctica

BrOch, 1948 : 13


Oswaldella antarctica

NaumOV & STepanjanTs, 1972 : 52