New paper in Marine Biodiversity


The first deep-sea ctenostome bryozoan from the Indian Ocean: Aethozoon flavum sp. nov..

Schwaha T, Zeppilli D, González-Casarrubios A et al. 2024
Mar. Biodivers. 54, 19 (2024).
Published online 21 February 2024


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Aethozoid ctenostome bryozoans are an unusual, small group of solitary ctenostome bryozoans, occurring almost exclusively in deep-sea habitats. Currently, there are only five species belonging to four, still insufficiently known genera, which have been reported from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Recent examination of sediment core samples from an active volcanic area near Mayotte revealed a high abundance of aethozoids, recorded for the first time in the Indian Ocean. A comparative approach identified the specimens as belonging to a new species, Aethozoon flavum sp. nov. There are particular characters diagnostic of this new species, such as basally oriented duplicature bands, a highly denticulate proximal vestibular wall, and a highly elongated anal tube terminating in an almost vestibular anus. This species is the first ctenostome observed at depths of over 3.000 m in the Indian Ocean. Morphological characters are compared among all aethozoids, but still require more detailed analyses in most species. Aethozoids appear to be globally distributed and often occur in high numbers, which indicates that additional efforts will increase their distribution and species range. Ultimately, additional studies will be able to show the ecological importance of these bryozoans and molecular studies should reveal more about their diversity and phylogenetic affinities.