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First in situ observations of the deep-sea carnivorous ascidian Dicopia antirrhinum Monniot C., 1972 in the Western Mediterranean Sea
Mecho, A.; Aguzzi, J.; Company, J.B.; Canals, M.; Lastras, G.; Turon, X. (2014). First in situ observations of the deep-sea carnivorous ascidian Dicopia antirrhinum Monniot C., 1972 in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 83: 51-56. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.dsr.2013.09.007
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0637; e-ISSN 1879-0119, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Dicopia antirrhinum Monniot C., 1972 [WoRMS]; Octacnemidae [WoRMS]
    Marine
Author keywords
    Dicopia antirrhinum; Octacnemidae; Western Mediterranean; La Fonera canyon; Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

Authors  Top 
  • Mecho, A.
  • Aguzzi, J.
  • Company, J.B.
  • Canals, M.
  • Lastras, G.
  • Turon, X.

Abstract
    Dicopia antirrhinum C. Monniot, 1972 is a rare species of deep-sea ascidian belonging to the Family Octacnemidae, reported at depths of 1000–2500 m in European Atlantic waters. Adult individuals have never been reported before in the Mediterranean Sea, where only seven juvenile specimens were found in 1975 at 500 m water depth in the Central basin (Malta). The affinities of these specimens with D. antirrhinum were noted, but lack of some typical characters of the species in juveniles prevented a definite taxonomical identification. No other member of the Octacnemidae has ever been found in the Mediterranean. In this study we describe the sampling of an adult specimen of D. antirrhinum at around 1100 m water depth on the flank of the La Fonera (Palamós) canyon, Northwestern Mediterranean, confirming their presence in the Mediterranean Sea. We also observed 5 individuals of this species on their natural habitat with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Our results highlight the potential occurrence of Octacnemidae, the presence of which has been largely overlooked, in several deep-sea canyon areas within the Western Mediterranean basin. These observations are important because they indicate the need for increased sampling effort with new technologies, such as ROVs, in ecologically relevant habitats such as canyons, in order to obtain a more accurate picture of deep-sea biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea.

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