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Cercicladia australis, a new carnivorous sponge with novel chelae from the Tasman Basin and the Argentine Patagonian Margin (Porifera, Cladorhizidae)

P. Rios, M. Kelly, J. Vacelet


Recent expeditions around New Zealand have revealed a surprising diversity of carnivorous sponges (Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida, Cladorhizidae). This is especially true for the Macquarie Ridge to the southwest of New Zealand, with high numbers of new species recently recorded. In this work we describe a new genus and species of Cladorhizidae Dendy, 1922 from the Macquarie Ridge, Cercicladia australis gen. nov. sp. nov., which has also, surprisingly, been found in the deep Atlantic off the coast of Patagonia. In addition to the mycalostyles and sigmancistras typical of Cladorhizidae, this presumably carnivorous species is characterized by the presence of toxas, microxeas, and a new type of spicule termed 'cercichelae' hereafter. The new genus Cercicladia gen. nov. has been named for these spicules, which resemble the shuttle-shaped chelae of Cercidochela lankesteri Kirkpatrick, 1907, now synonymised with Isodictya Bowerbank, 1864. The specimens from these disjunct locations are almost identical, except for the presence of acanthosubtylostyles in a few specimens from Patagonia.


Porifera, Cercicladia australis gen. nov. sp. nov., Macquarie Ridge, southern New Zealand, southern Atlantic, new species

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ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand