Deep-sea ophiuroids (Echinodermata) from reducing and non-reducing environments in the North Atlantic Ocean

Type Article
Date 2005-04
Language English
Author(s) Stohr Sabine1, Segonzac Michel2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Swedish Museum Nat Hist, Dept Invertebrate Zool, S-10405 Stockholm, Sweden.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Brest, DRO Environm Profond Centob, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (0025-3154) (Cambridge University Press), 2005-04 , Vol. 85 , N. 2 , P. 383-402
WOS© Times Cited 42
Keyword(s) Habitat description, Distribution record, Seeps, Methane, Hydrothermal vents, Ophiuroids
Abstract The animal communities associated with the deep-sea reducing environment have been studied for almost 30 years, but until now only a single species of ophiuroid, Ophioctenella acies, has been found at both hydrothermal vents and methane cold seeps. Since the faunal overlap between vent and seep communities is small and many endemic species have been found among other taxa (e.g. Mollusca, Crustacea), additional species of ophiuroids were expected at previously unstudied sites. Chemical compositions at reducing sites differ greatly from the nearby bathyal environment. Generally, species adapted to chemosynthetic environments are not found in non-chemosynthetic habitats, but occasional visitors of other bathyal species to vent and seep sites have been recorded among many taxa except ophiuroids. This paper presents an analysis of the ophiuroid fauna found at hydrothermal vents and non-reducing nearby sites on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and on methane cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, at Blake Ridge off South Carolina and south of Barbados. In addition to O. acies, four species were found at vents, Ophiactis tyleri sp. nov., Ophiocten centobi, Ophiomitra spinea and Ophiotreta valenciennesi rufescens. While Ophioctenella acies appears to be restricted to chemosynthetic areas, the other four species were also found in other bathyal habitats. They also occur in low numbers (mostly single individuals), whereas species adapted to hydrothermal areas typically occur in large numbers. Ophioscolex tripapillatus sp. nov. and Ophiophyllum atlanticum sp. now. are described from nearby non-chemosynthetic sites. In a cold seep south of Barbados, three species of ophiuroids were found, including Ophioctenella acies, Amphiura sp., Ophiacantha longispina sp. nov. and Ophioplinthaca chelys. From the cold seeps at Blake Ridge and the Gulf of Mexico, Ophienigma spinilimbatum. gen. et sp. nov. is described, likely restricted to the reducing environment. Ophiotreta valenciennesi rufescens occurred abundantly among Lophelia corals in the Gulf of Mexico seeps, which is the first record of this species from the West Atlantic. Habitat descriptions complement the taxonomic considerations, and the distribution of the animals in reducing environments is discussed.
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Stohr Sabine, Segonzac Michel (2005). Deep-sea ophiuroids (Echinodermata) from reducing and non-reducing environments in the North Atlantic Ocean. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 85(2), 383-402. Open Access version :