Sunday, February 24, 2013

[Crustacea • 2007] A new subfamily, Vulcanocalliacinae n. subfam. (Crustacea, Decapoda, Callianassidae), for Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi n. gen., n. sp. from a mud volcano in the Gulf of Cádiz, Northeastern Atlantic Ocean, between Spain and Morocco

Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi

A new ghost shrimp, Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi n.gen. n.sp., is described and accommodated in the new subfamily Vulcanocalliacinae. This subfamily shares with the Bathycalliacinae Sakai & Türkay, 1999 the resence of epipods on the third maxilliped and the first four pairs of pereopods, but differs by the absence of cardiac sulci and a dorsomedian carina. This is the second record of a thalassinidean crustacean from deep-sea chemoautotrophic communities.

Key words: Callianassidae, Vulcanocalliacinae, Vulcanocalliax, new subfamily, new genus, new species, Gulf of Cádiz, mud volcanoes, deep water

Peter C. Dworschak & Martina R. Cunha 2007. A new subfamily, Vulcanocalliacinae n. subfam., for Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi n. gen., n. sp. from a mud volcano in the Gulf of Cádiz (Crustacea, Decapoda, Callianassidae). Zootaxa. 1460: 35–46. 

A new species of ghost shrimp found associated with mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz in the Northeast Atlantic is the second recorded thalassinidean crustacean from deep-sea chemoautotrophic communities.

Undersea mud volcanoes are geological features that are often associated with the seepage of cold, methane-rich fluids. Recently, it has been found that the Gulf of Cadiz, a body of water along the continental margins of the Iberian Peninsula and northern Morocco in the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean, has a high concentration of such unique geologic features. One of the most active of these sites, a mud volcano called the Captain Arutyunov which was discovered by researchers on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-UNESCO Training Through Research Programme expedition aboard the RV Prof. Logachev, has yielded the discovery of an unusual decapod crustacean considered new to science.

Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi n.gen, n.sp. was collected from the Captain Arutyunov mud volcano at a depth of 1324 m by researchers using a Television-assisted grab. This unusual arthropod, only the second recorded thalassinidean crustacean, commonly known as ghost shrimp, to be found associated with deep-sea chemoautotrophic communities. It exhibits a host of characteristics that have led researchers to propose the designation of a new Subfamily (Vulcanocalliacinae). Unique characteristics include unpigmented eyes and rather large embryos. The occurrence of low numbers of large embryos suggests that these shrimp undergo an abbreviated larval stage.

Up until the discovery of this species, only eleven species of decapods have been collected in association with Gulf of Cadiz mud volcanoes. Of these eleven, most are represented by only a single collected specimen. While decapod specimens have been often observed by deep-towed video, they are rarely caught in benthic samples. These facts suggest that many species of crustaceans in this area may still remain undescribed. Thus, the unique geological environment in the Gulf of Cadiz may contain many potential new species awaiting discovery.

Two new species discovered in the deep Gulf of Cadiz