Chelonaplysilla aff. erecta Tsurnamal, 1967

Ugalde, Diana, Gómez, Patricia & Simões, Nuno, 2015, Marine sponges (Porifera: Demospongiae) from the Gulf of México, new records and redescription of Erylus trisphaerus (de Laubenfels, 1953), Zootaxa 3911 (2), pp. 151-183 : 178

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Chelonaplysilla aff. erecta Tsurnamal, 1967


Chelonaplysilla aff. erecta Tsurnamal, 1967

( Fig. 21 View FIGURE 21 A–C)

Selected synonymy: Chelonaplysilla erecta Tsurnamal, 1967: 96 ; van Soest 1978: 71.

Material examined. CNPGG – 1413 Alacranes reef (22 ° 23 ’ 42.7 ”N, 89 ° 42 ’ 20 ”W) depth 5 m, 01/VIII/ 2009.

Description. Thinly encrusting a dead coral, 1 to 7 mm thick ( Fig. 21 View FIGURE 21 A). The sponge surface is strongly conulose, with long and acute conules 1–3 mm apart, 1–2 mm high, and reinforced by a neat reticulation of sand grains embedded in a very thin ectosome in which pores are included. It is of black color in life and deep purple in alcohol, leaving a reddish-purple exudate in alcohol.

Skeleton. The ectosomal skeleton is a delicate, rounded network composed of sand grains embedded in tracts, 16–50 µm thick, arranged in a regular mesh pattern 160–270 µm wide ( Fig. 21 View FIGURE 21 B). The choanosomal skeleton consists of dendritic fibres, 60–140 µm in width ( Fig. 21 View FIGURE 21 C), of the same color as the exudate; these appear to be pithed but the sheathed fibres typical of the family produce this effect (van Soest 1978).

Distribution and ecology. Curaçao, Puerto Rico (van Soest 1978) and eastern Mediterranean ( Tsurnamal 1967); probably Brazil ( Hajdu et al. 2011). This is the first record for the Gulf of Mexico and Mexican coast.

Remarks. Specimens assigned to Chelonaplysilla erecta from the western Atlantic awaits thorough revision, due to the difficulty to discern C. erecta , from eastern Mediterranean ( Tsurnamal 1967) from another form found in the Red Sea (Row 1911, as Megalopastas erectus ). These two homonym names need to be reviewed to determine if they represent the same or different species. For the moment, only one undisputed Chelonaplysilla species has been reported in the western Atlantic, viz. C. betinensis Zea & van Soest 1986. Specimens recorded in Cuba lack the ectosomal fiber network composed of sand grains (Alcolado 2002), which is a characteristic feature of Chelonaplysilla cf erecta , most probably because they were collected from mangrove roots close to the sea surface.