Amphioplus hexabrachiatus Stöhr, 2003, Stohr, 2003

Rodrigues, Clara F., Paterson, Gordon L. J., Cabrinovic, Andrew & Cunha, Marina R., 2011, Deep-sea ophiuroids (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Ophiurida) from the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic), Zootaxa 2754, pp. 1-26: 18

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.276727

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Amphioplus hexabrachiatus Stöhr, 2003


Amphioplus hexabrachiatus Stöhr, 2003  

( Figs. 9–10 View FIGURE 9 View FIGURE 10 )

Material examined. Mercator MV, TTR 15, stn AT 576, 4 inds. ( DBUA 001084.01); Fiuza MV, TTR 14, stn AT 566, 2 inds. ( DBUA 001085.01); Kidd MV, TTR 14, stn AT 559, 2 inds. ( DBUA 001085.02); Yuma MV, TTR 14, stn AT 524, 1 ind. ( DBUA 001085.03); Darwin MV, TTR 16, stn AT 608, 1 ind. ( DBUA 001086.01); Captain Arutyunov MV, MSM01-03, stn 195, 1 ind. ( DBUA 0010.87.01); Pen Duick Escarpment, TTR 16, stn AT 600, 1 ind..

Remarks. This species is hexamerous, reproduces asexually by division, and reaches a maximum size of about 2.5 mm disk diameter. This is the first six-armed species of Amphioplus   and the third species of the genus known from the deep North Atlantic. The specimens from the Gulf of Cadiz closely resemble the description and images given by Stöhr (2003). This is obviously a morphologically variable species; in the range of body sizes observed in this study, key features such as the arrangement of the oral papillae and buccal scale are often not developed. It is only in the larger specimens (disk diameter> 2 mm) where the tentacle scales develop and are conspicuous. On the dorsal surface the development of the radial shields changes from small plates only separated at the inner edge to more elongated, larger plates separated nearly the full length of the plate only contiguous at the outer end. Smaller specimens show distinct evidence of fissiparity with one side of the disk being less well developed and smaller.

Ecology and distribution. This species was described from southwest of Iceland at depths of 1000–1500 m, collected by the Benthic Invertebrates of Icelandic Waters (BIOICE) programme ( Stöhr 2003). In the Gulf of Cadiz ( Fig. 7 View FIGURE 7 E) it was collected from the Pen Duick Escarpment and mud volcanoes of the Moroccan margin usually in areas with carbonate crusts or coral framework at depths between 414 and 1390 m extending the upper bathyal limit from 1000 to 414 m. The records from Cadiz also extend considerably the known geographical range of this species.


Zoological Collection of the Biology Department, University of the Azores