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Okinawa, Japan

Aguilar-Hurtado C.,University of Ryukyus | Nonaka M.,Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium | Reimer J.D.,University of Ryukyus | Reimer J.D.,Japan Agency for Marine - Earth Science and Technology
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

The family Melithaeidae (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea) is distributed in the West Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. They are most abundant in warmer waters but can also be found in temperate waters. At present six genera are assigned to this family (Melithaea, Mopsella, Clathraria, Acabaria, Wrightella and Asperaxis), however overlapping characteristics make this group's taxonomic identification difficult and their relationships unclear. There are only a few reports from the Ryukyu Archipelago in southern Japan of melithaeids and most other octocorals, despite the islands being an area of high octocoral diversity. To help resolve the taxonomic confusion in this family, samples from various Ryukyu Archipelago locations were collected and DNA sequences of nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) were obtained. Additionally, SEM micrographs of the sclerites of specimens were taken to further confirm the molecular results. Three strongly supported clades were recovered from the COI and 28S rDNA analyses, corresponding to Melithaea, Acabaria, and Mopsella, and in most cases clades were clearly related with the sclerite shape reported for each genus. These results show clearly that molecular differences are present between the three genera, and also demonstrates the strong need of other molecular markers for resolving intra-generic phylogenies. Our results provide baseline data for future studies of this octocoral family, not only on taxonomy, but also with regards to their distribution in the Ryukyu Islands. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source


Sato K.,Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium | Stewart A.L.,Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongerewa | Nakaya K.,Hokkaido University
Marine Biology Research | Year: 2013

A new deep-water catshark, Apristurus garricki sp. nov., is described from northern New Zealand waters. This species is a member of the longicephalus-group and has a conspicuously elongated prenarial snout and short duodenum and is morphologically similar to A. herklotsi from the western North Pacific and A. australis from Australian waters. A. garricki sp. nov. differs from A. australis and A. herklotsi by possessing large dermal denticles on the dorsal side of the body, and higher counts of monospondylous vertebrae and spiral valves. In addition, this species can be distinguished from A. herklotsi by its larger size at maturation, a higher count of monospondylous vertebrae and spiral valves, and distinct longitudinal striations on the surface of egg cases. It differs from A. australis by having fewer tooth rows on both jaws and the posterior position of the first dorsal-fin insertion being distinctly behind pelvic insertions. This species is currently only known from northern New Zealand waters, and is thought to be endemic to this region. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source


Here we describe eight specimens of Japanese precious coral (Octocorallia: Coralliidae) collected and identified by Kishinouye over one hundred years ago, and recently rediscovered in the collections at the USNM, Smithsonian Institution. Although Kishinouye identified four of the specimens he sent to the Smithsonian as Corallium elatius (Ridley, 1882), two of them represent two new species which we describe: Corallium uchidai sp. nov. and C. gotoense, sp. nov. Kishinouye did not designate any type material for the species he described in his publications nor did he ever mention sending any specimens to the Smithsonian Institution. Because his original material remains missing, we here select neotypes from the Smithsonian material for three of his species: Corallium konojoi Kishinouye, 1903; Pleurocorallium inutile Kishinouye, 1902 and C. japonicum Kishinouye, 1903. In this study, thanks to advances in computer technology and software, we have been able to quantify and thus improve the vague descriptions of sclerite numbers found in past literature such as "few" or "many". Our goal in reporting percent composition data for each kind of sclerite is to help to make species identifications easier for non-specialists. Copyright © 2012 · Magnolia Press. Source


Osawa M.,The University of Shimane | Higashiji T.,Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

A new species of squat lobster, Galathea chura sp. nov., is described from deep-waters off Okinawa Island in the Ryukyus, southern Japan, on the basis of a single specimen found on a colony of unidentified octocoral of the genus Parisis Verrill, 1864. The new species resembles G. magnifica Haswell, 1882, G. spinosorostris Dana, 1852, and G. tanegashimae Baba, 1969, in having scale-like or interrupted arcuate ridges on the gastric region of the carapace and epipods on the first or first and second pereopods only, but it is readily distinguished by the absence of epigastric spines. Copyright © 2012 - Magnolia Press. Source


Claes J.M.,Catholic University of Louvain | Sato K.,Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium | Mallefet J.,Catholic University of Louvain
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2011

The shark genus Etmopterus encompasses numerous deep-sea species that are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans and share the capability to emit light thanks to numerous tiny epidermal photogenic organs called photophores. Despite the potential wide ecological interest of this light emission, it is still a poorly studied aspect of shark biology, mostly due to the challenges inherent to the study of uncommon deep-sea animals. During a collection trip in waters around Okinawa Island, we had the opportunity to collect, maintain and study specimens of Etmopterus splendidus, a small pelagic lantern shark that was not previously known from this area. Analyses show that (i) the photophore density of this species varies according to the different parts of the body, which led to a heterogeneous photogenic pattern; (ii) photophore harbour the classical structure found in other etmopterid sharks, i.e. a cluster of photocytes enclosed in a pigmented sheath and surmounted by pigmented and lens cells; (iii) the physiological control of these photophores appears similar to what was found in the distantly related Etmopterus spinax, i.e. including hormonal and neural inputs as well as the action of pigmented cells overlying the photocytes. These results indicate that E. splendidus luminescence is probably used for more than one purpose, and support the idea that the physiological control of lantern shark photophores was selected early in the evolution of these sharks. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

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