Map of the study area showing the Mallorca Channel seamounts :: Image: Authors

Ordines F, Ramírez-Amaro S, Fernandez-Arcaya U, Marco-Herrero E, Massutí E, 2019. First occurrence of an Ophiohelidae species in the Mediterranean: the high abundances of Ophiomyces grandis from the Mallorca Channel seamounts. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Volume 99, Issue 8. December 2019. pp. 1817-1823.

Abstract: The first record of the ophiuroid family Ophiohelidae from the Mediterranean Sea is reported. It consists of the description of the new record of Ophiomyces grandis from the Mallorca Channel seamounts in the Balearic Islands, western Mediterranean, where it shows high abundances. We present both the morphological description of the individuals collected and, for the first time, the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) sequence of this species. The morphological traits of our specimens match the available descriptions of O. grandis. On the other hand, molecular analyses show a large genetic distance between O. grandis and Ophiomyces delata, the two species being very similar morphologically. Despite the high abundances of O. grandis reported here, previous surveys in the Mallorca Channel seamounts using ROV did not detect it, emphasizing the importance of beam trawl sampling to improving the biodiversity description of these geomorphological sea bottom features.

Keywords: Biodiversity, brittle stars, DNA barcoding, Mallorca Channel, seamounts, western Mediterranean