Protankyra autopista ( Marenzeller, 1882 )

THANDAR, AHMED S., 2007, Additions to the aspidochirotid, molpadid and apodid holothuroids (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) from the east coast of southern Africa, with descriptions of new species, Zootaxa 1414 (1), pp. 1-62 : 54-56

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1414.1.1

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Protankyra autopista ( Marenzeller, 1882 )


Protankyra autopista ( Marenzeller, 1882)

Figure 25 View FIGURE 25 (A–F)

Synapta autopista Marenzeller, 1882:123 , pl. IV, fig. 3.

Protankyra autopista H.L. Clark, 1907:103 , pl. V, fig. 31; Ohshima, 1913:505, fig. 6; 1914:505, fig. 6; Heding, 1928:264, fig. 49, 1–6; Cherbonnier, 1968:3, fig. a–w.

Type Not determined .

Type locality Bay of Miya , Japan .

Previous southern African record None

Material examined

SAM-A27950 , S.E. of Sodwana Bay , KZN, 27° 35.6' S, 32° 41.6' E GoogleMaps , NMDP, St. ZH 27, 2 vi 1990, 62 m., anterior fragment only .


Fragment 32 x 4 mm, uniformly whitish, papillae absent. Tentacles 12, whitish, longest 1 mm, each with four terminal digits of unequal size. Polian vesicle single; stone canal not detected. Body wall spicules as short robust anchors, irregular to quadrangular anchor plates and small basket-like buttons/plates; radial muscles with minute spherical to oval miliary granules. Anchors ( Figure 25A View FIGURE 25 ) 100–116 µm long (mean 108 µm), distance between arms 88–103 µm (mean 97 µm), each arm with 0–2 terminal teeth, vertex slightly concave, shaft thick, stock finely branched. Anchor plates ( Figure 25B View FIGURE 25 ) 91–103 µm (mean 98 µm) long, 59–84 µm (mean 76 µm) wide, with 36–52 smooth holes, with central holes always the larger. Buttons ( Figure 25D View FIGURE 25 ) 25– 44 µm (mean 32 µm) with 4–7 holes, a thick rim and a 4–6 armed base with minute knobs distally, or knobs absent. Miliary granules 9–22 µm (mean 17 µm) ( Figure 25C View FIGURE 25 ). Tentacles with similar granules or rods, 16–22 µm (mean 19 µm) in stalk ( Figure 25F View FIGURE 25 ), 22–56 µm (mean 35 µm) at tips ( Figure 25E View FIGURE 25 ), but more elongate and of diverse shapes.

Distribution Japan, Red Sea, east coast of South Africa.

Habitat Shell rubble.


Apart from its type locality this species has been reported from Japan by at least three other workers ( Britten 1907; Ohshima 1913, 1914 & Heding 1928). The only record outside Japan is that of Cherbonnier (1968), based on several fragments from the Red Sea. There are slight differences between the southern African material and that coming from Japan and the Red Sea. Japanese material is described as reddish while that of the Red Sea as pinkish. In both the teeth of the anchor arms are absent or poorly developed and the knobs on the baskets faint or absent. These differences may be just geographic variations in distantly separated populations and thus of little significance in trying to separate the southern form.

I am in agreement with Heding (1928) that this species is easily distinguished from its congenors. However, Marenzeller (1882) is of the opinion that it bears a strong resemblance to P.molesta Semper, 1868 from the Philippines, a species thought by H.L. Clark (1907), to be a synonymous with P. bidentata Woodward & Barrett, 1858 and by Heding (1928) with P. pseudodigitata Semper, 1868 . The distinguishing features of this species are its robust anchors, irregular anchor plates and smooth to finely knobbed basket-like buttons. It is remarkable that this Japanese species has such a wide distribution but more and complete material is necessary to draw any distinction between the Japanese population and that coming from the West Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea.














Protankyra autopista ( Marenzeller, 1882 )


Protankyra autopista H.L. Clark, 1907:103

Cherbonnier, G. 1968: 3
Heding, S. G. 1928: 264
Ohshima, H. 1913: 505
Clark, H. L. 1907: 103

Synapta autopista

Marenzeller, E. von 1882: 123