Resolving the Ophioderma longicauda (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) cryptic species complex: five sisters, three of them new

Type Article
Date 2020-02
Language English
Author(s) Stöhr Sabine1, Weber Alexandra2, 3, Boissin Emilie4, Chenuil Anne5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Zoology, Frescativägen 40, S-10405 Stockholm, Sweden
2 : Marine invertebrates, Museum Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia
3 : IFREMER, Centre de Bretagne, REM / EEP, Laboratoire Environnement Profond, 29280 Plouzané, France
4 : PSL Research University: EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR3278 CRIOBE, Université de Perpignan, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
5 : Aix-Marseille Université, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE) - CNRS - IRD - UAPV, Station Marine d’Endoume, Chemin de la Batterie des Lions, F-13007 Marseille, France
Source European Journal Of Taxonomy (2118-9773) (Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle), 2020-02 , Vol. 600 , P. 1-37
DOI 10.5852/ejt.2020.600
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) Brittle stars, new species, morphology, Mediterranean Sea, West Africa

The conspicuous Mediterranean brittle star Ophioderma longicauda (Bruzelius, 1805) has been discovered to represent a cryptic species complex, consisting of six nuclear clusters with contrasting reproductive modes (broadcast spawners and brooders). Here, O. longicauda is re-described. It is distinguished by a dark reddish-brown colouration both dorsally and on the ventral disc, and multiple tumid dorsal arm plates. One eastern Mediterranean brooding cluster is described as O. zibrowii sp. nov., characterized by a dark olive-green colour both dorsally and on the ventral disc, and single dorsal arm plates. Another brooder is described from Tunisia as O. hybrida sp. nov., with a highly variable morphology that reflects its origin by hybridization of O. longicauda and a brooder (possibly O. zibrowii sp. nov.), leaving the third brooding cluster as morphologically indistinguishable at this point and possibly conspecific with one of the others. The West-African O. guineense Greef, 1882 is resurrected as a valid species, differing morphologically from O. longicauda by predominantly single dorsal arm plates and light green or creamy white ventral side. Also from West Africa, O. africana sp. nov. is described, characterized by a dark brown colour, dorsally and ventrally, and single dorsal arm plates.

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