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Adaptations for living deep: a new bathypelagic doliolid, from the eastern North Pacific

  • Bruce H. Robison (a1), Kevin A. Raskoff (a2) and Rob E. Sherlock (a1)

Adapting to the bathypelagic habitat imposes serious challenges for taxa that originate in shallower depths. We describe a new doliolid that has successfully made the transition into deep water. Nine specimens of Pseudusa bostigrinus have been found at depths between 1164 and 1890 m in three distinct regions of the eastern North Pacific. This new thaliacean has exchanged the typical doliolid body plan for one resembling a craspedote hydromedusa. This adaptation allows it to collect sinking particles by simply directing its large buccal opening upward. The development of a hydromedusa-like velum allows it to trap zooplankton prey and to propel itself with considerable force and control. While carnivory is not unknown in tunicates, this is the first report of a carnivorous doliolid. The endostyle of P. bostigrinus is greatly reduced, there are no ciliated bands, and there is no spiral gland; all evidence that mucus feeding filters have been abandoned by this species. Anatomy, diet, behaviour, and habitat distinguish this doliolid from all others described to date.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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