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A re-examination of siphonophore terminology and morphology, applied to the description of two new prayine species with remarkable bio-optical properties

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 June 2005

Steven H.D. Haddock
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, California, 95039, USA
Casey W. Dunn
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520 USA
Philip R. Pugh
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK


Siphonophores (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa) are dominant members of the carnivorous plankton, and they are known for their ability to produce bioluminescence. Here we describe two new calycophoran species (sub-family Prayinae) that are unique in their morphological and optical traits. One species, Gymnopraia lapislazula gen. nov., sp. nov., displays a dramatic form of blue structural coloration, and the other, Lilyopsis fluoracantha, sp. nov., bears an exceptional amount of fluorescence–enough to give a greenish cast during white-light illumination. We also introduce a consistent terminology for siphonophore axes and zooids, discuss characters important for distinguishing the known prayine genera, and suggest that the presence or absence of a disjunct pedicular canal could be of diagnostic value for the group.

Research Article
© 2005 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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