New genus and species of lithistid demosponges from submarine caves in Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands) and Tahiti Iti (Society Islands), French Polynesia

Astrid Schuster*, Andrzej Pisera, Merrick Ekins, Cécile Depitus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Lithistid demosponges are well known from limestone caves of karstic origin in the Mediterranean Sea. However, they have never been reported from submarine caves of volcanic origin in the South Pacific. Here, we describe and provide DNA barcodes for four new lithistid demosponges including one new genus. All species grew on basaltic rocks inside lava tubes on Nuku Hiva Island (Marquesas Islands) and Tahiti Iti peninsula on Tahiti Island (Society Islands) in French Polynesia. Three of the species have rhizoclone desmas as choanosomal skeletons and belong to the family Scleritodermidae (Microscleroderma miritatarata sp. nov. and Microscleroderma lava sp. nov.) and Siphonidiidae (Gastrophanella basaltica sp. nov.). The new genus Levispongia gen. nov. belongs to the family Corallistidae. The new species Levispongia meyeri gen. nov. sp. nov. has dicranoclone desmas, complex dichotrianes with strongly spinose upper surfaces of the cladome and microstyles as the only microscleres. Phylogenetic relationships of these new species are discussed and compared with other material from the Caribbean and Central to the West Pacific Ocean.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Zoological Journal
Volume88
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)749-770
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Cave sponges
  • DNA barcoding
  • French Polynesia
  • lithistid demosponges
  • relict fauna

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