Haliclona (Halichoclona) chankanaabiis, Gómez & Calderón-Gutiérrez, 2020

Gómez, Patricia & Calderón-Gutiérrez, Fernando, 2020, Anchialine cave-dwelling sponge fauna (Porifera) from La Quebrada, Mexico with the description of the first Mexican stygobiont sponges, Zootaxa 4803 (1), pp. 125-151 : 133

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Haliclona (Halichoclona) chankanaabiis

sp. nov.

Haliclona (Halichoclona) chankanaabiis sp. nov.

Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5

Material examined. HOLOTYPE CNPGG‒1631, Cenote S-1, La Quebrada anchialine cave, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico (20°26’16.75’’N, 86°59’47.44’’W). Depth 5.2 m, October 23, 2015; coll. F. Calderón-Gutiérrez and German Yáñez. GoogleMaps PARATYPES CNPGG‒1632, CNPGG‒1633, CNPGG‒1634, CNPGG‒1635, same data as holo- type.

Description. A slim and delicate tubular sponge with a well-defined central osculum, collapsing outside the water. The holotype measures 2.8 cm long, 1.0 cm wide, with an osculum 3 mm in diameter. Size range 1.1‒3.0 cm long, 0.5‒1.1 cm wide, oscula 2‒4 mm. Color whitish transparent when alive ( Fig. 5a View FIGURE 5 ), light beige preserved in alcohol ( Fig. 5b View FIGURE 5 ). The surface has some spicules protruded outwards; however, it is believed that the fine dermis was detached during sampling. Consistency soft, smooth, very flexible and limp.

Skeleton. The ectosomal skeleton consists of a loose subisotropic tangential network with triangular to rectangular meshes, conformed by unispicular tracts fused at the nodes by very scarce amount of spongin ( Fig. 5c View FIGURE 5 ). The choanosomal skeleton is a confused subisotropic reticulation similar to the ectosomal, conformed mainly by unispicular tracts but intermingled with short length paucispicular tracts. The mesh range is 5.5‒204.9 µm wide ( Fig. 5d View FIGURE 5 ).

Spicules. Mainly straight oxeas, with acerate and hastate ends, 91‒109.2 × 1.3‒2.8 µm. Occasionally also straight styles and strongyles, 87‒96.2 × 2.1‒3.9 µm, ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 e-f).

Etymology. Named “ chankanaabiis ” in reference to the beach where the anchialine cave La Quebrada connects with the sea. Chankanaab means “small sea” in the Mayan language.

Geographic distribution. Only known from the type locality.

Ecology. This is a stygobite species. Generally, on the floor, but also on the cave walls, at a depth range of 4.5 to 7.6 m.

Remarks. Due to the exhaustive studies of Haliclona species realized by de Weerdt (1986, 1989, 2000) from the east and west coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, we are confident on the description and data of H. ( Halichoclona ) species. Though, there is no other H. ( Halichoclona ) species in the Caribbean like H. (H.) chankanaabiis sp. nov. distinguished by its lean tubular shape, whitish transparent color, and smaller spicule sizes; the latter feature is not comparable with any other species of the subgenus Halichoclona , so far known. H. (Halichoclona) magnifica de Weerdt et al. 1991 has twice the size of oxeas (146‒220.6 × 3.6‒6.7 µm), as well as those from H. (H.) stoneae de Weerdt 2000 (285.7‒358 × 7.7‒12.8 µm), and H. (H.) albifragilis ( Hechtel, 1965) (145‒174 × 3‒5 µm). The three species differ in shape and structure: the former with larger thick-walled tubes over a massive base, and crispy consistency; the second is an encrusting cushion bearing abundant sigmas; the third is thinly encrusting with friable consistency. Moreover, all of them have a rather dense skeleton. The closest species to H. (H.) chankanaabiis sp. nov. in terms of skeletal pattern is H. (H.) vansoesti de Weerdt, de Kluijver & Gomez, 1999, with a loose subisotropic network. However, it differs from the new species by having a thickly encrusting habit and cavernous body, as well as larger spicule sizes (120‒221.6 × 3.6‒10.7 µm).