Thursday, July 14, 2016

A new seasnail: Atlanta ariejansseni

from the original publication
The sea snail family Atlantidae comprises of planaktonic species with a microscopic body size (shell diameter of less than 1 cm). The foot of the snail has evolved into a muscular swimming fin allowing them to move in the open water. 

The snail was found in the Southern Ocean and named after Arie Janssen, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands, in recognition of his commitment and longstanding contributions to holoplanktonic gastropod research.

For the experts: The Atlantidae (shelled heteropods) is a family of microscopic aragonite shelled holoplanktonic gastropods with a wide biogeographical distribution in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters. The aragonite shell and surface ocean habitat of the atlantids makes them particularly susceptible to ocean acidification and ocean warming, and atlantids are likely to be useful indicators of these changes. However, we still lack fundamental information on their taxonomy and biogeography, which is essential for monitoring the effects of a changing ocean. Integrated morphological and molecular approaches to taxonomy have been employed to improve the assessment of species boundaries, which give a more accurate picture of species distributions. Here a new species of atlantid heteropod is described based on shell morphology, DNA barcoding of the Cytochrome Oxidase I gene, and biogeography. All specimens of Atlanta ariejansseni sp. n. were collected from the Southern Subtropical Convergence Zone of the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans suggesting that this species has a very narrow latitudinal distribution (37–48°S). Atlanta ariejansseni sp. n. was found to be relatively abundant (up to 2.3 specimens per 1000 m3 water) within this narrow latitudinal range, implying that this species has adapted to the specific conditions of the Southern Subtropical Convergence Zone and has a high tolerance to the varying ocean parameters in this region.

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