Todays calendar critter is a Trypanosyllis sp. – a undescribed species from the genera Trypanosyllis in the family Syllidae. It most closely resembles a species described from the Mediterranean Sea. The Norwegian species is common in coral rubble, and has been assumed to be the same species as the one described from the Mediterranean. Genetic work reveals that these two are in fact separate species, and thus the Norwegian one is a new species awaiting formal description and naming. (If you read Norwegian, you can learn more about how species are described and named here: Slik gir vi navn til nye arter).
A new species of Trypanosyllis, collected in Sletvik, Norway. Photo by Arne Nygren. CC-by-sa
Syllids have opted for a rather fascinating way of ensuring high fertilization rates; something called epitoky: they asexually produce a special individual – the epitokous individual – from their bodies, and release this to go swimming in search of a mate. In the photo you can see that the female reproductive body (epitoke) is filled with orange eggs and has its own set of eyes, close to the middle of the animal. This section will break away from the mother animal and swim away in search of a male reproductive body to reproduce with. The mother animal will then grow a new female reproductive body.
Meet Ampharete undecima, a new species of polychaete (bristle worm) that we recently described:
One of the tools used when describing a new species is the electron microscope, which allows us to take very detailed photographs of the animals. Photo: K. Kongshavn
The sites where the species has been found
The species has been decribed based on material collected by the University of Bergen in the Nordic Seas in the 80s, and from samples collected by MAREANO in more recent years. It occurs in deep waters between 600 and 1650 meters depth, and has a broad distribution. The type specimen of the species is from a location that MAREANO sampled in 2009.
Alvestad T., Kongsrud J.A., and Kongshavn , K. (2014) Ampharete undecima, a new deep-sea ampharetid (Annelida, Polychaeta) from the Norwegian Sea . Memoirs of Museum Victoria 71:11-19Open Access.