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Where Topsent went wrong: Aka infesta a.k.a. Aka labyrinthica (Demospongiae: Phloeodictyidae) and implications for other Aka spp.
Schönberg, C.H.L.; Beuck, L. (2007). Where Topsent went wrong: Aka infesta a.k.a. Aka labyrinthica (Demospongiae: Phloeodictyidae) and implications for other Aka spp. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. Spec. Issue 87(6): 1459-1476. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315407058249
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Schönberg, C.H.L.
  • Beuck, L.

Abstract
    Early descriptions for species of Aka were poor in detail, and the only spicule type that occurs in this genus does not vary much between species, which led to taxonomic confusion. Moreover, the type specimens of five species of Aka are lost, causing considerable problems. Mediterranean specimens of Aka were identified as Aka labyrinthica (Hancock, 1849) by Topsent (1900), even though this species was originally described from the Indo-Pacific. All following publications on Mediterranean Aka accepted Topsent's decision. We assessed this problem with new samples from the Ionian Sea. Our material consisted of only one specimen of Aka, and we had to rely mainly on spicule characters for comparison with other species. We developed a system for species recognition solely based on spicular characters and biometry, involving a combination of the parameters oxea length, width, tip form and angle of curvature. This approach was surprisingly accurate. Forming ratios of the above parameters was less helpful, but can sometimes provide additional information. We identified our sample as Aka infesta (Johnson, 1899), and describe it as a minute-fistulate species with large, multicamerate erosion traces and stout, smooth oxeas. Our data further imply that A. labyrinthica sensu Hancock has not yet been found in the Mediterranean. Aka labyrinthica sensu Topsent is a collection of different species not including A. labyrinthica sensu Hancock.

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