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A new genus and species of Loricifera (Nanaloricida: Pliciloricidae) from the deep waters of Japan

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In this paper, we describe Wataloricus japonicus gen. et sp. nov. (phylum Loricifera), based on specimens collected during surveys of Japanese waters in the Northwest Pacific conducted onboard the TR/Vs TOYOSHIO MARU and SEISUI MARU. This new loriciferan is placed in the family Pliciloricidae based on the morphology of the adult lorica and Higgins larval internal armature, setae, and toes. It is readily distinguished from other pliciloricid genera by the following combination of characters: adult with a long rigid mouth tube bearing an umbrella-like membrane that extrudes from the mouth opening; a double organ consisting of two untransformed separate spinoscalids; 15 single trichoscalids; and approximately 46 longitudinal folds in the lorica and anal field; and Higgins larva with clavoscalids characterized by ventral swelling and spine-like tip; short unsegmented spinoscalids of the second scalid row; indistinct collar, heavily wrinkled thorax; two pairs of anterior setae; two pairs of posterior setae; and slender toes with sub-terminal swelling. The new genus described herein appears to be synonymous with a previously reported undescribed genus sensu Heiner and Neuhaus (2007) from the Galapagos Spreading Centre, thereby indicating that the geographical distribution of the new genus may at least span the entire Pacific region.

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We express our gratitude to the captains and crews of TR/V TOYOSHIO MARU (Hiroshima University; cruise no. 2016-25) and TR/V SEISUI MARU (Mie University; cruise no. 1722), and the research members who participated in these cruises, for their assistance in collecting the sediment samples used in this study. The two anonymous reviewers are acknowledged for their helpful comments that improved this manuscript.


SF received funding from the Fujiwara Natural History Foundation and RMK received funding from the Carlsberg Foundation grant CF-16-0236.

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Correspondence to Shinta Fujimoto.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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No animal testing was performed during this study.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling have been obtained by the authors.

Data availability

All material used in this study is deposited in the Zoological Collection of Kyoto University (KUZ).

Author contribution

SF, TK, and SO collected the material used in this study. SF and RMK observed the material. SF and HY prepared the figures. All authors contributed in preparing the manuscript.

Additional information

Communicated by S. Gollner

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Fujimoto, S., Yamasaki, H., Kimura, T. et al. A new genus and species of Loricifera (Nanaloricida: Pliciloricidae) from the deep waters of Japan. Mar. Biodivers. 50, 103 (2020).

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