Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 541–554 | Cite as

Sympagohydra tuuli (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa): first report from sea ice of the central Arctic Ocean and insights into histology, reproduction and locomotion

  • Stefan SiebertEmail author
  • Friederike Anton-Erxleben
  • Rainer Kiko
  • Maike Kramer
Original Paper


Various cnidarians have adapted their life style to interstitial habitats of marine sediments. Recently, for the first time a hydroid was reported from the interstitial brine channel system of Arctic fast ice. Due to its derived features, the new genus and species Sympagohydra tuuli was introduced. Here we describe findings of S. tuuli in sea ice at several sites within the central Arctic Ocean. In our view the results of this study do not allow assignment of Sympagohydra to any known family and we, therefore, suggest the introduction of a new family Sympagohydridae which is placed within the hydrozoan subclass Hydroidolina, order Anthomedusae, suborder Capitata. A first detailed histological analysis of S. tuuli is presented. In vivo analysis of locomotion and reproduction revealed a remarkable convergent evolution in S. tuuli and distant meiobenthic relatives. Shared traits are a flagellated epidermis enabling the animals to glide within small interstices by means of flagellar beating as well as an internalised embryogenesis. In S. tuuli gametogenesis occurs in the absence of gonophores inbetween gastro- and epidermis clearly separated from the epidermis. Budding was observed as the vegetative mode of reproduction. Documentation of feeding behaviour identified copepod nauplii and rotifers as prey items and demonstrates a high trophical position of the hydroids within the sympagic food web. Occurrence of reproducing individuals and pronounced tolerances towards changing temperatures and salinities indicate S.tuuli as a truly sympagic species.


Hydroid Supplementary Video Central Arctic Ocean Body Column Aboral Part 



We thank Thomas C.G. Bosch for providing excellent laboratory facilities and him and Iris Werner for generous support. Furthermore we thank both for critically reading and improving the manuscript. We also thank Peter Schuchert for comments on the manuscript, discussion and helpful advises, Boris Anokhin for discussion, help with nematocyst analysis and the stenotele drawing, Antje Thomas for help with histology, Stefano Piraino for sharing unpublished data, Alice Schneider for help in the field, Gunnar Spreen for providing the map of sampling sites, Kristina Barz for sharing digital devices, the captain and crew of RV “Polarstern” for professional support, Sebastian Fraune for help with molecular phylogenetic analysis, Dirk Brandis and Sievert Lorenzen for useful comments. This work was supported, in part, by grants to Iris Werner from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (WE 2536/11-1).

Supplementary material

227_2008_1106_MOESM1_ESM.tif (7 mb)
Supplement S1. Phylogenetic hypothesis among 112 hydrozoan taxa using themaximum likelihood criterion on a concatenated dataset comprising partial 16S, 18Sand 28S ribosomal sequence information. Bootstrap values greater than 50 areindicated. Estimated parameters of the assumed model GTR+I+G were: A-C, 0.8877; AG,2.9294; A-T, 1.6218, C-G, 0.8694; C-T, 5.2844; G-T, 1.0000; assumed proportion ofinvariant sites: 0.5775, gamma shaped parameter 0.6086. (6.96 MB)
227_2008_1106_MOESM2_ESM.txt (830 kb)
Supplement S2. File containing the data matrix used in the phylogenetic analysis and consensus tree of the ML analysis. (TXT 830 kb)

V1. Bending of proboscis-like hypostome. Two tentacles are visible. Gastrodermal cells contain vacuoles with reddish prey pigment. (WMV 4911 kb)

V2. Locomotion of Sympagohydra tuuli. Beating flagella on epidermal cells of the body column. (WMV 7177 kb)

V3. Locomotion of Sympagohydra tuuli. Beating flagella facilitate gliding movement. Tentacles can be seen at oral end of the animals. Beating mode and direction of gliding can be changed. (AVI 3012 kb)

V4. Locomotion of Sympagohydra tuuli. Animals rotate around their longitudinal axis when rising in the water column. (WMV 5255 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Siebert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Friederike Anton-Erxleben
    • 1
  • Rainer Kiko
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maike Kramer
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoological InstituteChristian-Albrechts-University of KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Polar EcologyChristian-Albrechts-University of KielKielGermany
  3. 3.Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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