Paragorgia whero, JUAN ARMANDO SÁNCHEZ, 2005

JUAN ARMANDO SÁNCHEZ, 2005, Systematics of the bubblegum corals (Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Paragorgiidae) with description of new species from New Zealand and the Eastern Pacific, Zootaxa 1014, pp. 1-72: 49-51

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.169657

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Paragorgia whero

sp. nov.

Paragorgia whero   sp. nov.

( Figs. 32–33 View FIGURE 32 View FIGURE 33 )

Material examined. Holotype: NIWA 3436, H­ 875, J 214, Z9583, 48 °02.1' S, 166 ° 06.1' E, “Doghill seamount”, 935m, 25 Nov 1998 (col. J. Wills, FV Amatal Explorer 1171 / 12, bottom trawl).

Paratype: NIWA 3439, P­ 1427 (J 74), 36 ° 8.84 ' S, 178 ° 12.24 ' E, “Rumble V seamount”, 772–951 m, 23 May 2001 (RV Tangaroa   0107/ 225, epibenthic sled).

Diagnostic characters. Cortex surface (including calyx surface) containing mostly 8 ­ rayed sclerites (radiate derived, like capstans) up to 0.09 mm in length with rays formed by 4–6 blunt to pointed, conical projections ( Fig. 33 View FIGURE 33 D–E).

Description. Fragile, slim colonies with branches 3–4 mm in diameter at the portions without autozooids ( Fig. 32 View FIGURE 32 ). Autozooids with gregarious tendency in the branches with clusters up to 7 mm in diameter, but also isolated on slimmer portions of the branches ( Fig. 32 View FIGURE 32 ). Autozooid polyps extended in alcohol­preserved specimens; sweeper tentacles, pale yellow. Autozooid polyp apertures conical, semi­closed, projecting up to 2 mm from the branch. Colony easily breakable, larger fragments 63 mm in length (holotype: Fig. 32 View FIGURE 32 A).

Color bright red ( NIWA 3436) to pink ( NIWA 3439), with a white medulla. Medulla at the terminal branches visibly perforated by 2–5 large circular internal canals. Polyps with blunt spindles in the tentacles, up to 0.1 mm in length, with radially ornate belts of multiple acute cones ( Fig. 33 View FIGURE 33 A–C). Surface sclerites highly ornate, 8 ­radiate­derived, capstanlike sclerites ( Fig. 33 View FIGURE 33 D–E), averaging 0.089 mm (0.005 SD, n= 10, NIWA 3436; 0.008 SD, n= 10, NIWA 3439). Surface sclerites 1.65–1.74 times longer than wide, averaging 0.05 mm in width (0.004 SD, n= 10, NIWA 3436; 0.006 SD, n= 10, NIWA 3439). Subsurface with forms intermediate to longer spindle­like sclerites ( Fig. 33 View FIGURE 33 D). Medulla with long, slim, mostly straight, moderately ornate, spindles up to 0.5 mm in length ( Fig. 33 View FIGURE 33 G).

Morphological variation. Owing to the small and fragmented nature of the studied material the full range of sizes for P. w h e ro sp. nov. is unknown. In any case, the branches are so fragile it is unlikely that the species attains a large size.

Distribution. Doghill and Rumble V seamounts, 772– 951 m.

Species comparisons. P. w h e ro has more slender branches (3–4 mm) and autozooid nodules compared to P. arborea   (10–30 mm) but thicker branches than P. splendens   . The sclerites from the surface cortex (other layers are less variable across species) exhibit mostly 8 ­radiates of larger size, which was among the characters chosen by Bayer (1993) as diagnostic for P. splendens   , suggesting relatedness between the two species. Bayer (1993) also reported some hypertrophy (e.g., Opera glass type) but that was not observed in P. whero   .

Etymology. The word “ whero   ” means red in Maori, one characteristic of this species.


National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research