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A new genus of Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864 (Crustacea, Isopoda), with descriptions of two abyssal new species from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, north-eastern tropical Pacific

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A new deep-sea genus of the asellotan family Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864, Pirinectes Malyutina & Brix gen. nov., including two new species, is described from the abyssal manganese nodule area of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone in the north-eastern tropical Pacific. The new genus of the subfamily Eurycopinae Hansen, 1916, which is distinguished genetically, differs morphologically from the other six genera of this subfamily by the unique combination of the following characters: a rostrum approximately one third of the cephalon width and as long as antenna I article 1, with rounded margins, and the fingerprint pattern surface; pereonites 5 and 6 are fused dorsomedially, pereonite 7 is free; antenna I article 1 is without distomedial lobe and with small a distolateral projection; epipod of the maxilliped is less than two thirds of basis length and ovoid. Unique for the subfamily is the long pereopod II ischium, which is longer than the basis. Such characteristics can only be found in some munnopsid genera of the subfamily Munnopsinae Lilljeborg, 1864. Confirmed as distinct species by genetic analysis, the two new species can be morphologically distinguished from each other via a difference in width of the cephalon rostrum, the length of the palp and epipod of the maxilliped, length and width of distomedial lobes of pleopod 1, the width of carpi of the pereopods I, V and VI, and the different ratio of the uropod rami length. An illustrated identification key to the species of the Pirinectes gen. nov. is presented.

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We would like to thank the crew of the RV Sonne and the scientific team of the expedition for their help in collecting the material for the paper during the cruise SO239; the research institute Senckenberg hosting Marina Malyutina via a taxonomy grant in Hamburg in 2017 and 2019. Without this support, this paper would not have reached its submission status so quickly. We would like to thank Amy Driskell and the Smithsonian lab staff for support during the lab visits in 2015 doing the first steps towards a species delimitation of all pacific munnopsids collected. Sometimes it takes years before the original determination work to be reflected in a paper holding the description of new species. Patience and belief in a high quality dataset by Pedro Martinez and Karen Osborn also made the final description steps possible and not only do we thank these two colleagues here, their contribution to supporting our taxonomic work is reflected in the Etymology sections above. We are grateful to both anonymous reviewers and Stefanie Kaiser for their comments and suggestions which helped to improve the manuscript. We thank James Taylor for linguistic support of the final revisions. This is publication number 49 based on data from the Senckenberg am Meer Confocal Laser scanning Microscope Facility.


The cruises SO239 were financed by the German Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF) as a contribution to the European project JPI Oceans “Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining”. Marina Malyutina received a Senckenberg taxonomy grant in 2017 and 2019 to complete this study.

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Correspondence to M. V. Malyutina.

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Author contributions

Malyutina M.V.: Identification, morphological and taxonomical analyses, preparing the drawings and the descriptions of the new species and the new genus, writing and submission of the manuscript.

Kihara T.C: Scanned the material using confocal laser scanning microscope, composed the confocal plates and contributed with comments to the final manuscript.

Brix S.: Prepared samples, discussing the idea, manuscript writing, coordinating of the work and preparing the voucher specimens for museum storage.

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Communicated by S. Kaiser

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Malyutina, M.V., Kihara, T.C. & Brix, S. A new genus of Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864 (Crustacea, Isopoda), with descriptions of two abyssal new species from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, north-eastern tropical Pacific. Mar. Biodivers. 50, 42 (2020).

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