A new species of Cyanea jellyfish sympatric to C. capillata in the White Sea

Abstract

Cyanea is a genus of large bloom-forming scyphozoans, including some of the most conspicuous representatives of megaplankton. Its taxonomy has been revised repeatedly throughout the last century due to the fact that most of the morphological characteristics of Cyanea species, such as color, structure of gastrovascular system and number of tentacles, may overlap greatly in different populations. Here, we report a new species of Cyanea, Cyanea tzetlinii sp. nov., from the White Sea, which is distinguishable from all previously described Cyanea species by an eye-spot-bearing bulb formed at the base of each rhopalium. This well-recognizable morphological characteristic is supported at the molecular level by a substantial genetic distance in mitochondrial (CO1: 9.6–10.6 %, 16S RNA: 3.1–3.5 %) as well as nuclear (ITS: 5.0 %, 18S RNA: 0.1 %) loci, making it the sister species to Cyanea capillata. Taking into account the young geological age of the White Sea and a substantial genetic divergence between C. tzetlinii sp. nov. and the nearest sister species, we suppose that C. tzetlinii sp. nov. has been advected to the White Sea from elsewhere and may also inhabit other Arctic seas. Past ecological studies in the White Sea and possibly in other Arctic Seas could have conflated C. tzetlinii sp. nov. with other species, which likely affected the analyses.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Nikolay Neretin and Boris Feniouk for help in collection and processing of Cyanea samples, and Nikolay Mugue, Alexander Tzetlin, Andrey Prudkovsky, Nikolay Marfenin, Boris Osadchenko and Anna Zhadan for valuable discussions. We thank the personnel of the White Sea Biological Station for the wonderful research opportunities provided at this facility. This work was performed during the Molecular Biology and General Biology course for the students of the Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The molecular investigations were supported by Russian Scientific Foundation grant 14-50-00029 and by grant 15-29-02447 from the Russian Fund for Basic Research.

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Correspondence to Tatyana V. Neretina.

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Kolbasova, G.D., Zalevsky, A.O., Gafurov, A.R. et al. A new species of Cyanea jellyfish sympatric to C. capillata in the White Sea. Polar Biol 38, 1439–1451 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-015-1707-y

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Keywords

  • Scyphozoa
  • Cyanea
  • Medusae
  • Taxonomy
  • Rhopalium
  • Molecular genetics
  • Biodiversity