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- Abyssocladia polycephalus Hestetun, Jon T., 2016, Zootaxa 4175: 523-525.
Atlantis Bermuda Atlantis
Etymology. From Greek poly, meaning many and cephalus, latinized form of the Greek kephalos, meaning head. The name is derived from the multiple disc-shaped bodies of the species.
Diagnosis. Erect, slender Abyssocladia consisting of a central stem with side branches each ending in a disclike body bearing filamentous projections. Megascleres are mycalostyles, subtylostyles and substrongyles; microscleres are arcuate isochelae and sigmancistras.
Description. A single specimen consisting of a 35 mm long smooth, curving and flexible stem, with 3–4 up to 10 mm long slightly thinner side branches broken off during collection and preservation. The basal part of the sponge is missing. The branches and main stem each end with a slightly swollen, elongated, disc-like body with radiating filaments. Color is white in ethanol, with a slight yellow tint. No aquiferous system was observed (Fig. 2A–B). The specimen was recovered on the surface of an unknown Geodia (aff. megastrella, possibly undescribed) using the Alvin submersible, but it is unknown whether it was originally attached to this sponge. Skeleton. The central stem and branches consist of densely packed bundles of mycalostyles. Each disc-shaped body is composed of a slightly expanded continuation of the connecting stem or branch with the addition of a network of less well organized subtylostyles as well as radiating bundles of mycalostyles projecting from the body and constituting the skeleton of the filaments. Arcuate isochelae and sigmancistras are found throughout the body tissue, but their exact placement was not determined (Fig. 2 C–E). Spicules. Mycalostyles, straight and fusiform, 720–(933)–1070 µm long, 14–(17)–22 µm wide (Fig. 3 A). Subtylostyles to mycalostyles, thin, straight and fusiform, with faint, slightly elongated tyle, 430–(686)–960 µm long, 5–(10)–13 µm wide (Fig. 3 B). Strongyles, stout and slightly bent, 380–(568)–780 µm long, 15–(18)–22 µm wide (Fig. 3 C). Arcuate isochelae, tridentate, with strongly arched shafts, in the body tissue and covering the filaments, 28– (43)–50 µm (Fig. 3 D–F). Sigmancistras, thick, straight or contorted, with the concave side clearly flattened into fimbria-like structures towards each end, 9.4–(9.8)–11.0 µm (Fig. 3 G).
Remarks. The majority of known species within the genus Abyssocladia are small, pedunculate, with a single disc-shaped body and radiating filaments. This body is commonly elongated to a certain degree, and in some species has been modified into a long, flattened central axis with opposite rows of filaments along the sides (e.g. Hestetun et al., 2015; Vacelet, 2006). The habit of A. polycephalus sp. nov., consisting of a branching central stem with several disc-shaped bodies, is highly unusual and has not been recorded in the genus before.
- Hestetun, Jon T.; Pomponi, Shirley A.; Rapp, Hans Tore; 2016: The cladorhizid fauna (Porifera, Poecilosclerida) of the Caribbean and adjacent waters, Zootaxa 4175: 523-525. doi