(Chen, Chong, Watanabe, Hiromi Kayama & Araya, Juan Francisco 2017)
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- Astyris Chen, Chong, 2017, Zootaxa 4363: 593-594.
Type specimens. Holotype (Fig. 1A–D) [SH 8.5 mm, SD 4.3 mm, LW 4.1 mm], UMUT RM32644. Paratypes. #1 (Fig. 1E) [SH 8.3 mm, SD 4.5 mm, LW 4.6 mm], NSMT Mo 78990. #2 (Fig. 1F) [SH 7.4 mm, SD 4.2 mm, LW 4.1 mm], periostracum removed with diluted bleach to reveal fine sculpture, operculum and radula removed for SEM, UMUT RM32645. #3 [SH 7.1 mm, SD 4.0 mm, LW 4.0 mm], NSMT Mo 78991. #4 [SH 7.7 mm, SD 4.1 mm, LW 4.3 mm], NSMT Mo 78992. #5 [SH 6.5 mm, SD 3.7 mm, LW 3.9 mm], JAMSTEC 1140053525. #6 [SH 3.0 mm, SD 1.7 mm, LW 1.6 mm], juvenile with intact protoconch, UMUT RM32646. All type specimens fixed and stored in 99% ethanol. Type locality. Natsu hydrothermal vent site, Iheya North field, Okinawa Trough, Japan; 27°46.843’N, 126°54.024’E, 1074 m deep; 2014/Jan/24, collected by slurp gun, ROV HYPER- DOLPHIN Dive #1614, R/V KAIYO cruise KY14-01, principal scientist: Ken Takai. Additional material examined. Two specimens from type locality, fixed and stored in 99 % ethanol, used for genetic barcoding (tissue dissolved). Five specimens, live collected, fixed and stored in 99% ethanol. Aki hydrothermal vent site, Iheya North field, Okinawa Trough, Japan; 27°46.130’N, 126°54.159’E, 1087 m deep; 2014/Jan/25, collected by slurp gun, ROV HYPER- DOLPHIN Dive #1614, R/V KAIYO cruise KY14-01, principal scientist: Ken Takai.
Etymology. From ‘ Thermós ’ (Greek), warm or hot, and ‘ philíā ’ (Greek), love or affection; combined to mean heatloving, referring to its habitat in hydrothermal vent fields. Japanese Name. ‘ Yomotsu-mugi-gai ’, meaning ‘mitrid from the underworld’.
Diagnosis. A moderate-sized (up to SH 8.5 mm) Astyris with rather tall-spired, uniformly white, thin, semitransparent shell; smooth including base, except 25 to 30 very fine spiral striae. Columella lacking columellar fold. Periostracum thin, greyish brown. Protoconch paucispiral. Radula stenoglossate with acuspate centre plate, three sharp cusps on each lateral.
Description. Shell (Fig. 1A–F) moderate-sized for genus (up to SH 8.5 mm), rather tall-spired. Apex always decollate in adults, leaving at most three whorls remaining. Teleoconch thin, semi-transparent, uniformly white in colouration. Periostracum thin, greyish brown, earlier whorls slightly darker coloured. Often covered by further sulfide deposits. Teleoconch largely smooth except approximately 25 to 30 very fine, shallow, evenly spaced spiral striae present across entire whorl (see Fig. 1F), increasing in strength anteriorly towards siphonal canal. Striations on posterior half of shell usually too fine to detect when covered by periostracum. Whorls elevated, slowly expanding, slightly convex but not angulated. Suture distinct, shallowly constricted. Aperture entirely lacking dentition, semi-circular in shape, siphonate, approximately twice as tall as wide, posteriorly acuminate. Outer lip simple, not thickened, completely smooth on inside. Columella straight, simple, with slightly thickened callus. Siphonal canal short with weakly constricted but distinct siphonal notch. Protoconch (Fig. 1G) paucispiral, about 1.5 whorls, smooth, lacking velar sinus, sculpture or distinct growth lines. Transition edge between protoconch and teleoconch clearly marked by a varix. Suture of protoconch shallow, slightly higher than teleoconch. Operculum (Fig. 1H) corneous, small, length about half of aperture height. Lamellate with lateral nucleus on right often eroded away. Radula (Fig. 1I) stenoglossate, typical of columbellids with one lateral on each side separated by an acuspate centre plate instead of rachidian. Laterals sigmoid, well-supported, with three strong cusps. Two distal cusps sharper, longer, closer spaced compared to basal cusp. Centre plate rectangular, slightly wider posteriorly, without sculpture.
Distribution and ecology. Only known from Natsu and Aki sites of the Iheya North hydrothermal field (Nakamura et al. 2015), mid-Okinawa Trough, Japan. Found in tubeworm bushes attached on the tubes, presumably a predator of other animals inhabiting the same habitat or alternatively it may be ovophagous and feed on eggs of other animals.
Remarks. The present new species is assigned to genus Astyris as it matches well with the diagnosis for the genus given by McLean & Gosliner (1996), most notably by having a small, high-spired shell with smooth surface and a paucispiral protoconch (Garcia 2009). Of those species currently in Astyris, the new species most closely resembles A. permodesta (Dall, 1890) from methane seeps at Monterey Canyon and whale falls in California (Smith et al. 1989; Bennett et al. 1994) and A. atacamensis Araya, Catalán & Aliaga, 2016 from northern Chile. Although A. permodesta has been reported also from off Callao, Perú (Levin et al. 2002), this is likely in fact another record of A. atacamensis (Sellanes 2017). Both of these species are easily separable from A. thermophilus n. sp. as they have a thicker, broader shell with wider aperture and less constricted siphonal canal, as well as having spiral grooves on the base. The pronounced columellar fold seen in A. atacamensis and the lirae inside the outer lip are also lacking in A. thermophilus n. sp. Until the discovery of A. thermophilus n. sp., Astyris permodesta was the only other columbellid species known from deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems.
- Chen, Chong; Watanabe, Hiromi Kayama; Araya, Juan Francisco; 2017: First columbellid species (Gastropoda: Buccinoidea) from deep-sea hydrothermal vents, discovered in Okinawa Trough, Japan, Zootaxa 4363: 593-594. doi