Morphology, ecology, and molecular biology of a new species of giant larvacean in the eastern North Pacific: Bathochordaeus mcnutti sp. nov.

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Abstract

© 2016, The Author(s).Bathochordaeus mcnutti sp. nov. is described from the mesopelagic northeast Pacific Ocean (Monterey Bay, California, USA). Larvaceans in the genus Bathochordaeus are large, often abundant zooplankters found throughout much of the world ocean, but until recently it was unclear whether more than a single species of Bathochordaeus existed. Using remotely operated vehicles, we have made hundreds of in situ observations, compiled two decades of time-series data, and carefully collected enough specimens to determine that three species of Bathochordaeus occur in Monterey Bay: B. charon (Chun), B. stygius (Garstang), and B. mcnutti sp. nov. Bathochordaeus mcnutti is readily distinguished from its two congeners by the distinct blue outline visible around the periphery of its tail, and by other aspects of its morphology, ecology, and genetics. The abundance of larvaceans means they are ecologically important as particle processors. Species within the genus, Bathochordaeus, comprise the largest of described larvaceans.

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Sherlock, R. E., Walz, K. R., Schlining, K. L., & Robison, B. H. (2017). Morphology, ecology, and molecular biology of a new species of giant larvacean in the eastern North Pacific: Bathochordaeus mcnutti sp. nov. Marine Biology, 164(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-016-3046-0

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