Meeting Abstract

P2-197  Friday, Jan. 6 15:30 - 17:30  A New Species of Sea Daisy (Xyloplax, Asteroidea, Echinodermata) PAYNE, CY*; CARVAJAL, JI; GRUPE, B; ROUSE, GW; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego cypayne@ucsd.edu

Xyloplax is a genus of sea stars found on sunken wood in the deep ocean. Their circular and petaloid bodies, which lends them their common name, “sea daisy”, and their exclusive diet of wood makes them an unusual and rare element of deep sea ecosystems. There are currently only three described species of Xyloplax. A fourth species was recently collected at a depth of 2200 meters near the Juan de Fuca hydrothermal vent system, off Oregon. The specimens were obtained from wood blocks deployed for three years. Though geographically close to another described species of Xyloplax from the northeastern Pacific, X. janetae, the new species was found to be markedly different, with a corrected mitochondrial COI distance of 17.35%. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to describe the skeletal structure and reproductive organs of the new species.