Microbial Ecology

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 15–21

A New Deep-Sea Suctorian-Nematode Epibiosis (Loricophrya-Tricoma) from the Blanes Submarine Canyon (NW Mediterranean)

  • Gregorio Fernandez-Leborans
  • Sara Román
  • Daniel Martin


During a pluri-disciplinary study carried out within the frame of the Spanish research project DOS MARES, multicore samples were collected along the Blanes submarine canyon and its adjacent open slope to study the structure and dynamics of the meiofaunal organisms, mainly nematodes. Among the 5808 nematode individuals identified, only 190 of them belonged to the genus Tricoma (Desmoscolecidae), and only two harboured epibiont suctorian ciliates. The three specimens were located near the tail of the basibionts. A careful examination of the ciliates revealed that they were suctorians, which are here described as a new species of Loricophrya, namely L. mediterranea sp. nov. The new species is characterized by having a conical, slightly elongated lorica, narrowing towards posterior end; an anterior end inward curved, surrounding the lorica opening; a body placed near the lorica opening, occupying 1/3 of the lorica length, 4–8 capitate tentacles, and a peripheral, oval to sausage-shaped macronucleus. Our findings represent the first known report of an association with a deep-sea species of Tricoma, and the first record in the Mediterranean Sea, for a species of Loricophrya. The significance of the relationships between suctorian ciliates and their host in extreme environments such as deep-sea submarine canyons is discussed.


Epibiosis Nematode Tricoma Suctorian ciliate Loricophrya mediterranea sp. nov. Blanes canyon Deep-sea NW Mediterranean Sea 


  1. 1.
    Álvarez-Campos P, Fernández-Leborans G, Verdes A, San Martín G, Martin D, Riesgo A (2014) The tag-along friendship: epibiotic protozoans and syllid polychaetes. Implications for the taxonomy of Syllidae (Annelida), and description of three new species of Rhabdostyla and Cothurnia (Ciliophora, Peritrichia). Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 172(2):265–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amblas D, Canals M, Urgeles R, Lastras G, Liquete C, Hughes-Clarke JE, Casamor JL, Calafat AM (2006) Morphogenetic mesoscale analysis of the northeastern Iberian margin, NW Mediterranean Basin. Mar. Geol. 234(1):3–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ansari KGMT, Bhadury P (2016) Occurrence of epibionts associated with meiofaunal basibionts from the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, Sundarbans. Marine Biodiversity. doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0502-5
  4. 4.
    Baban I, Singh R, Sautya S, Dovgal I, Chatterjee T (2009) Report of epibiont Thecacineta calix (Ciliophora: Suctorea) on deep sea Desmodora (Nematoda) from the Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean. JMBA2 - Biodiversity Records. doi:10.1017/S1755267209990777
  5. 5.
    Bhattacharjee D (2014) Suctorian epibionts on Chromaspirina sp. (Nematoda: Desmodoridae) from the shallow continental shelf of the Bay of Bengal, northern Indian Ocean. Marine Biodiversity Records 7:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Blome D, Riemann F (1987) A sediment agglutination on females of the free-living marine nematode Desmodora schulzi. Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen 41:113–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Curds CR (1987) A revision of the Suctoria (Ciliophora, Kinetofragminophora). 5. The Paracineta and Corynophrya problem. Bull British Mus (Nat Hist) (Zool) 52:71–106Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    De Grisse AT (1969) Redescription ou modifications de quelques techniques utilisées dans l’étude des nematodes phytoparasitaires. Mededelingen Rijksfakulteit Landbouwwetenschappen, Gent 34:351–369Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dovgal IV (2002) Evolution, phylogeny and classification of Suctorea (Ciliophora). Protistology 2:194–270Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dovgal IV, Chatterjee T, Baban І (2008a) An overview of suctorian ciliates (Ciliophora, Suctorea) as epibionts of halacarid mites (Acari, Halacaridae). Zootaxa 1810:60–68Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dovgal IV, Chatterjee T, Ingole B, Nanajкar M (2008b) First report of Limnoricus ponticus Dovgal & Lozowskiy (Ciliophora: Suctorea) as epibionts on Pycnophyes (Kinorhyncha) from the Indian Ocean with key to species of the genus Limnoricus. Cah. Biol. Mar. 49:381–385Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dovgal I, Chatterjee T, Ingole B (2009a) New records of Thecacineta cothurnioides and Trematosoma rotunda (Ciliophora, Suctorea) as epibionts on nematodes from the Indian Ocean. Protistology 6:19–23Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dovgal I, Chatterjee T, Rao DS, Chan BK, De Troch M (2009b) New records of Praethecacineta halacari (Schulz) (Suctorea: Ciliophora) from Taiwan, Tanzania and Canada. Marine Biodiversity Records 2:e136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fenchel T (1987) Ecology of protozoa. The biology of free-living phagotrophic protists. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Madison, Wisconsin, p. 52 [Brock/Springer Series in Contemporary Bioscience. Science Technical Publishers.]Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fernandez-Leborans G, Tato-Porto ML (2000a) A review of the species of protozoan epibionts on crustaceans. I. Peritrich ciliates. Crustaceana 73:643–684Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fernandez-Leborans G, Tato-Porto ML (2000b) A review of the species of protozoan epibionts on crustaceans. II. Suctorian ciliates. Crustaceana 73:1205–1237Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fernandez-Leborans G, Gabilondo R (2005) Hydrozoan and protozoan epibionts on two de capod species, Liocarcinus depurator (Linnaeus, 1758) and Pilumnus hirtellus (Linnaeus, 1761), from Scotland. Zool Anz 244:59–72Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fernandez-Leborans G (2010) Epibiosis in Crustacea: an overview. Crustaceana 83(5):549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fernandez-Leborans G, Von Rintelen K (2010) Biodiversity and distribution of epibiontic communities on Caridina ensifera (Crustacea, Decapoda, Atyidae) from Lake Poso: comparison with another ancient lake system of Sulawesi (Indonesia). Acta Zool. 91(2):163–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Fisher R (2003) Ciliate hitchhikers—nematode ecto-commensals from tropical Australian sea grass meadows. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U. K. 83:445–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gili J-M, Bouillon J, Pagès F, Palanques A, Puig P, Heussner S (1998) Origin and biogeography of deep water Mediterranean Hydromedusae including the description of two new species collected in submarine canyons of Northwestern Mediterranean. Sci. Mar. 62(1–2):113–134Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gili J-M, Bouillon J, Pagès F, Palanques A, Puig P (1999) Submarine canyons as habitat of singular plankton populations: three new deep-sea hydromedusae in the western Mediterranean. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 125:313–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Gili JM, Puig P, Pagès F, Palanques A, Boullion J, Heussner S (2000) Deep-water Hydromedusae from the Lacaze-Duthiers submarine canyon (Banyuls, north-western Mediterranean) and description of two new genera (Guillea and Parateclaia). Sci. Mar. 64(1):87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ingole B, Singh R, Sautya S, Dovgal I, Chatterjee T (2009) Report of epibiont Thecacineta calix (Ciliophora: Suctorea) on deep-sea Desmodora (Nematoda) from the Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean. Marine Biodiversity Records 3:e46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Key Jr MM, Winston JE, Volpe JW, Jeffries WB, Voris HK (1999) Bryozoan fouling of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus at Beaufort, North Carolina. Bull. Mar. Sci. 64(3):513–533Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Lastras G, Canals M, Amblas D, Lavoie C, Church I, De Mol B, Duran R, Calafat AM, Huhes-Clarke JE, Smith CJ, Heussner S (2011) Understanding sediment dynamics of two large submarine valleys from seafloor data: Blanes and La Fonera canyons, northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Mar. Geol. 280(1):20–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Liao J-X, Dovgal I (2015) A new Thecacineta species (Ciliophora, Suctorea) on Desmodora pontica (Nematoda, Desmodorida) from a seagrass bed in Taiwan. Protistology 9:75–78Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Morado JF, Small EB (1995) Ciliate parasites and related diseases of Crustacea, a review. Rev Fisheries Sci 3:275–354Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Muthumbi A, Verschelde D, Vincx M (1995) New Desmodoridae (Nematoda: Desmodoroidea): three new species from Ceriops mangrove sediments (Kenya) and one related new species from the North Sea. Cah. Biol. Mar. 36:181–195Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nicholas WL, Stewart AC, Marples TG (1988) Field and laboratory studies of Desmodora cazca Gerlach, 1956 (Desmodoridae: Nematoda) from mangrove mud-fats. Nematologica 34:331–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Platt, H. M. & Warwick, R. M. (1988) Free-living marine nematodes. Part II: British chromadorids. Brill/Backhuys, for the Linnean Society of London and the Estuarine and Brackish-Water Sciences Association.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Román, S., Vanreusel, A., Romano, C., Ingels, J., Puig, P., Company, J.B., Martin, D., submitted. High spatiotemporal variability in meiofauna assemblages in Blanes Canyon (NW Mediterranean) subject to anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Deep-Sea Res. I.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Romano C, Coenjaerts J, Fleixas MM, Zúñiga D, Vanreusel A, Company JB, Martin D (2013a) Spatio-temporal variability of meiobenthic density in the Blanes submarine canyon (NW Mediterranean). Prog. Oceanogr. 118:159–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Romano C, Voight JR, Company JB, Plyuscheva M, Martin D (2013b) Submarine canyons as preferred habitat for wood-boring species of Xylophaga (Mollusca, Bivalvia). Prog. Oceanogr. 118:175–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sardà F, Company JB, Bahamón N, Rotllant G, Flexas MM, Sánchez JD, Zúñiga D, Coenjaerts J, Orellana D, Jordà G, Puigdefábregas J, Sánchez-Vidal A, Calafat A, Martín D, Espino M (2009) Relationship between environment and the occurrence of the deep-water rose shrimp Aristeus antennatus (Risso, 1816) in the Blanes submarine canyon (NW Mediterranean). Prog. Oceanogr. 82:227–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sardá R, Gil J, Taboada S, Gili JM (2009) Polychaete species captured in sediment traps moored in northwestern Mediterranean submarine canyons. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 155:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sevastou K, Corgosinho PHC, Arbizu PM (2012) A new species of Dahmsopottekina (Copepoda: Harpacticoida: Huntemanniidae) from the western Mediterranean deep sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of U.K. 92:1043–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sergeeva N, Dovgal I (2016) Loricophrya bosporica n. sp. (Ciliophora, Suctorea) epibiont of Desmoscolex minutus (Nematoda, Desmoscolecida) from oxic/anoxic boundary of the Black Sea Istanbul Strait’s outlet area. Zootaxa 4061(5):596–600CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Tazioli S, Di Camillo CG (2013) Ecological and morphological characteristics of Ephelota gemmipara (Ciliophora, Suctoria), epibiontic on Eudendrium racemosum (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from the Adriatic Sea. Eur. J. Protistol. 49(4):590–599CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tecchio S, Ramírez-Llodra E, Aguzzi J, Sanchez-Vidal A, Flexas MM, Sardà F, Company JB (2013) Seasonal fluctuations of deep megabenthos: finding evidence of standing stock accumulation in a flux-rich continental slope. Prog. Oceanogr. 118:188–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wahl M (1989) Marine epibiosis. I. Fouling and antifouling: some basic aspects. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 58:175–189Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Wahl M (2008) Ecological lever and interface ecology: epibiosis modulates the interactions between host and environment. Biofouling 24(6):427–438CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Wahl M, Goecke FR, Labes A, Dobretsov S, Weinberger F (2012) The second skin: ecological role of epibiotic biofilms on marine organisms. Front. Microbiol. 3:292CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Weissman P, Lonsdale DJ, Yen J (1993) The effect of peritrich ciliates on the production of Acartia hudsonica in Long Island Sound. Limnol. Oceanogr. 38(3):613–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregorio Fernandez-Leborans
    • 1
  • Sara Román
    • 2
  • Daniel Martin
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department d’Ecologia MarinaCentre d‘Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CEAB-CSICBlanes (Girona)Spain

Personalised recommendations