Leptogorgia martirensis, Hernández & Gómez-Gutiérrez & Sánchez, 2021

Hernandez, Osvaldo, Gomez-Gutierrez, Jaime & Sanchez, Carlos, 2021, Three new species of the sea fan genus Leptogorgia (Octocorallia, Gorgoniidae) from the Gulf of California, Mexico, ZooKeys 1017, pp. 1-20: 1

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Leptogorgia martirensis

sp. nov.

Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. Figures 1 View Figure l , 4 View Figure 4 , 5 View Figure 5 , 8C, D View Figure 8

Material examined.

Holotype. NMNH-1638556: dry, Cueva Refugio, San Pedro Mártir Island, Sonora, Mexico (28°22.297'N, - 112°19.040'W), 1 m depth, 16 July 2010, collector Carlos Sánchez. Paratypes. NMNH-1638557: dry, Cueva Refugio, San Pedro Mártir Island, Sonora, Mexico (28°22.297'N, - 112°19.040'W), 1 m depth, 16 July 2010, collector Carlos Sánchez; NMNH-1638558: dry, Cueva Refugio, San Pedro Mártir Island, Sonora, Mexico (28°22.297'N, - 112°19.040'W), 1 m depth, July 16, 2010, collector Carlos Sánchez; NMNH-1638559: San Pedro Mártir Island, Sonora, Mexico (28°22.818'N, - 112°18.4422'W), 20 m depth, 16 July 2010, collector Carlos Sánchez.

Type locality.

Cueva Refugio, San Pedro Mártir Island, Sonora, Mexico is one of the furthest offshore islands in the Gulf of California (part of midriff islands at the upper Gulf) where volcanic rocky reefs predominate. San Pedro Mártir Island is a UNESCO "Islas del Golfo de California" Biosphere Reserve (Fig. 1 View Figure l ).

Holotype colony description.

A yellow colony with bushy and dense growth with multiple and irregular brownish lines (Fig. 4A View Figure 4 ). The colony is 6.1 cm in length and 8.1 cm in width. The holdfast is irregular, 14 mm × 11 mm from which the short main stem rises (2 mm length, 4 mm diameter). The colony has four main branches up to 11 mm length and 3 mm diameter. The main branches subdivide into multiple secondary branches (up to 31 mm length, 2 mm diameter). Terminal twigs are flat and short (12 mm length, 2 mm width) with acute ends. The general pattern of upward ramification is lateral at 45° angle. Polyp mounds are oval and prominent, forming one or two rows at each side of the branches with 0.5 mm height, 2 mm length, and 1 mm width with elongated calyces. The colony has several specimens of unidentified dried ophiuroids (< 2 mm oral disc diameter) attached to the branches (Fig. 4A View Figure 4 ).

Holotype sclerites.

The coenenchymal sclerites are exclusively capstans (Figs 4B View Figure 4 , 5A View Figure 5 ). There is no evidence of other types of sclerites being present in any other section of the colony. The capstans reach 0.05 mm long and 0.03 mm wide (Fig. 5A View Figure 5 ), their color is pale yellow, pink, red or bicolor yellow-red, but the predominant color is pale yellow (90%). The anthocodial sclerites are lobed rods with acute or blunt ends up to 0.1 mm length and 0.03 mm width in the center (Fig. 5B, C View Figure 5 ). They are bicolor white-red, red, orange or white. The red chromotype is predominant (70% of observed colonies) (Fig. 4B View Figure 4 ).

Morphological variations.

Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. colonies show three chromotypes: purple, yellow and brown (Figs 4A View Figure 4 , 8C, D View Figure 8 ). The colony color depends on the proportion of the dominant color of the coenenchymal sclerites, but in a few cases the colonies show a brown chromotype when the color proportion of sclerites is approximately 50% purple and 50% yellow.


The colony growth, size and polyp mounds of Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. are similar to those of Leptogorgia aequatorialis   Bielschowsky, 1929, Leptogorgia obscura   and Leptogorgia parva   . However, these three species each have only one chromotype (purple, pink, and orange, respectively), and all these species have spindles in their coenenchyme up to 0.1 mm length, while L. martirensis   sp. nov. has three chromotypes and no spindles in the coenenchyme.

Habitat and distribution.

The micro-endemic Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. is only recorded in rocky shallow waters (up to 10 m depth), and low abundance, at San Pedro Mártir and San Esteban Islands, Sonora. The islands are located in the northern Gulf of California (as part of the Cortez Province according to Brusca and Wallerstein 1979, Hasting 2000), and are the most isolated islands in the gulf (Fig. 1 View Figure l ). The Cortez Province is associated with the lowest winter sea superficial temperature (SST 15 °C), the widest annual range of SST (15-30 °C), high marine productivity, and harbor a unique macroinvertebrate community, dominated by endemic octocorals of the genus Muricea   ( Ulate et al. 2016). Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. shares its habitat with Muricea austera   Verrill, 1869, Muricea plantaginea   (Valenciennes, 1846), Muricea   spp., Psammogorgia teres   Verrill, 1868, and Eugorgia excelsa   Verrill, 1868.


Leptogorgia martirensis   sp. nov. takes its name from the collection site San Pedro Mártir Island.