Haliclona (Soestella) spuma, Sim-Smith & Hickman & Kelly, 2021

Sim-Smith, Carina, Hickman, Cleveland & Kelly, Michelle, 2021, New shallow-water sponges (Porifera) from the Galápagos Islands, Zootaxa 5012 (1), pp. 1-71 : 20-22

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Haliclona (Soestella) spuma

sp. nov.

Haliclona (Soestella) spuma sp. nov.

( Fig. 9 View FIGURE 9 ; Table 2 & Table 3)

Material examined. Holotype — MCCDRS9446, Gordon Rocks , Santa Cruz Island, 0.567° S, 90.142° W, 27 m, 22 Jan 2003 GoogleMaps . Paratypes — MCCDRS9447, Gordon Rock , 0.567° S, 90.685° W, 24 m, 20 Jul 2003 GoogleMaps ; MCCDRS9448, Guy Fawkes Island , 0.515° S, 90.527° W, 26 m, 26 Jul 2003 GoogleMaps . Other material— MCCDRS9449, Rabida Island , 0.406° S, 90.713° W, 17 m, 18 Nov 2003 GoogleMaps ; MCCDRS9450, Pinzón Island , 0.592° S, 90.684° W, 14 m, 20 Jan 2003; MC- CDRS9442 View Materials GoogleMaps , Pinzón Island , 0.619° S, 90.685° W, 24 m, 22 June 2001 GoogleMaps .

Type locality. Gordon Rocks , Santa Cruz Island ; 27 m.

Habitat and distribution. Collected from Gordon Rocks, Guy Fawkes Island, Rabida Island, Maria Elena Islet (Pinzón Island); 17–27 m. Found growing on rock. The sponge was also very commonly observed on numerous other islands in the Galápagos Archipelago .

Description. Thinly to thickly encrusting, cavernous sponge, 5–20 mm thick with a lumpy, ridged surface upon which the oscules are located. The surface of the sponge is densely punctate and numerous single and multiple oscules, ≤ 3 mm in diameter, are present that are typically slightly raised on volcano-shaped mounds. Colour in life white to cream, colour in ethanol tan ( Fig. 9A–B View FIGURE 9 ). Texture very soft, friable.

Skeleton. Choanosome is a loose subanisotropic reticulation of small oxeas that form rounded meshes around frequent choanosomal spaces resulting in the cavernous appearance of the sponge and punctate surface. Reasonably robust, irregular multispicular primary tracts are visible forming sculpted or rounded meshes ( Fig. 9C–D View FIGURE 9 ) due to an abundance of loose oxeas that form webs where the ill-defined pauci- to multispicular secondary tracts connect to the primary tracts. Ectosome is loosely tangential with numerous rounded open spaces; there is no special ectosome ( Fig. 9E View FIGURE 9 ). Spongin is scarce.

Spicules. ( Table 3) Megascleres— small, slightly curved oxeas with pointed tips, 164 (136–192) × 8 (5–13) µm (n = 90) ( Fig. 9F View FIGURE 9 ).

Etymology. Named after the white foamy appearance of the sponge surface in life (Latin nominative singular in apposition = ‘foam’).

Remarks. Only one species of Haliclona (Soestella) has been described from the tropical/subtropical eastern Pacific. Haliclona (S.) caerulea ( Hechtel, 1965) from the Pacific side of Panama, Caribbean and Venezuela possesses microscleres in addition to oxeas. The six species of Haliclona (subgenus unknown) from the eastern Pacific, as described for H. (H.) clairae sp. nov. above, are all differ from this species, as outlined in Table 2.