A new species of giant clam found in Antarctic waters


10/10/2011

Spanish explorers discovered the rare mollusc in Antarctic waters, which also has a saucer shape, like a conventional clam species known to date, but more significant proportions. This type appeared in the Antarctic waters in a much more remote area than conventional shellfish species.

A new kind of mollusk, which has the same morphology as the sea limpets or Fissurelidy (Fissurellidae) and 14 millimeters long, were found in Antarctic waters. This discovery, made by a research team from the Department of Ecology and Zoology at the University of Vigo in Spain was published in the journal "The Nautilus" and reveals more information about the representatives of the new genus Zeidora and their geographical distribution.

Christian Oldie (Cristian Aldea), co-author of the analysis, explained that "this genus belongs to the group about which we know very little. This group consists of 14 species, of which only a few specimens have been discovered by scientists." Patterns of the form called "Zeydora Antarctica" (Zeidora Antarctica), the length of which reaches 14 mm, much larger in size than those in the same genus, the length of which reaches up to 5 millimeters.

New clams were found at a depth of over 600 meters in the Bellingshausen Sea in the north of Antarctica - a medium with very different characteristics for a new kind Zeidora. First discovered specimens of this group live in tropical and warm waters. Of all the species, eight species were found in the Northern Hemisphere in the Caribbean, Japan and the Red Sea, as well as Panama. In addition, six species have been found in the Southern Hemisphere in such areas such as the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island, Australia, and New Zealand.

The specimen was discovered during an expedition BENTART as the Spanish National Antarctic Programs aboard Hesperides. Oldie admitted that he did not expect "that can detect this type during this trip that has spread from low (tropical) at middle latitudes and is similar to the view previously found in New Zealand."

Aldi also noted: "We have fulfilled the description of the species, based in the shell, as no soft tissue was not yet found in the only catch the sample." These studies have allowed us to show, for example, the number and size of scars on the shell clam. However, the morphology of soft tissue clam has not been revealed, but "all the characteristics that made on the basis of shells, indicate that it is a live view, not a fossil species," according to experts.

The observed pattern is now on display at the Natural History National Museum of Madrid (MNCN), it was compared with other similar types of shellfish Zeidora naufraga Watson, Zeidora maoria Powell and Zeidora reticulata, which are on display at the Natural History Museum of London.

Original: Sciencedaily Translation: M. Potter


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