Epibiotic demosponges on the Antarctic scallop Adamussium colbecki (Smith, 1902) and the cidaroid urchins Ctenocidaris perrieri Koehler, 1912 in the nearshore habitats of the Victoria Land, Ross Sea, Antarctica
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The importance of epibiosis in Antarctic benthic communities is highlighted here considering the specific diversity of sponges living on shells of the scallop Adamussium colbecki and on spines of the cidaroid urchin Ctenocidaris perrieri. Scallops are from three different areas along the Victoria Land [Tethys Bay (TB), New Harbour (NH), Dunlop Island (DI)], while cidaroid urchins are from NH but not present in the two other stations. Homaxinella balfourensis is the commonest species both on the scallops and cidaroid urchins. Other common species on scallops are Myxilla (Myxilla) asigmata, Lissodendoryx (Ectyodoryx) nobilis and Iophon unicorne at NH, Iophon unicorne at DI, and Iophon radiatum, Haliclona sp. 1, Iophon unicorne and Lissodendoryx (Ectyodoryx) nobilis at TB. The highest number of sponge species we found on a single scallop was ten and the sample was collected at NH. On the spines of C. perrieri, Isodictya erinacea, Iophon unicorne and Haliclona (Rhizoniera) dancoi are present too. A. colbecki and C. perrieri, generally living on soft bottoms, represent important substrata for several sponge species. In this way, sponges may increase their dispersal exploiting valves and spines as stepping stones.