A new Polygordius (Annelida: Polychaeta) from Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica
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Polygordius antarcticus sp. nov. is described from benthic material collected at depths ranging between 31 and 61 m in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, during the 1987–1988 and 1988–1989 expeditions of the Italian National Research Program in Antarctica. This is the first named species of the genus from Antarctic waters. Although no fully mature specimens were available, the new species appears unique in combining the following features: a regular pygidium, inflated and with a single ring of round adhesive pads, a conical prostomium with short antennae (only half as long as the prostomium) and shallow head fold, and a well-developed circulatory apparatus, with circumoesophageal commissures entering the prostomium and long intersegmental commissures insinuating into the ventrolateral compartments of the trunk. These and other significant features were investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. In the construction of the head and the scheme of the blood system, the new species resembles Polygordius triestinus Woltereck, described by Hempelmann in 1906, an aberrant species inhabiting muddy, anoxic sediments in the Adriatic Sea, but it differs significantly from it in the shape of the mouth (in P. triestinus the upper lip is hypertrophied and strongly protruding) and the pygidium (in P. triestinus this region is stump-like and non-adhesive). The pygidium of P. antarcticus sp. nov. is encircled by 28–30 small adhesive pads, each with 15–20 glandular openings. Preterminal cirri are lacking, as are perianal appendages. The anus is surrounded by six to seven lobes of which the midventral is largest and longest. A world distribution map of the genus is provided.
KeywordsScanning Electron Microscopy Significant Feature Polychaeta Blood System Single Ring
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