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Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 26(3)

Relevance of an integrative approach for taxonomic revision in sponge taxa: case study of the shallow-water Atlanto-Mediterranean Hexadella species (Porifera : Ianthellidae : Verongida)

Julie Reveillaud A B H, Céline Allewaert C, Thierry Pérez D E F, Jean Vacelet D E F, Bernard Banaigs G and Ann Vanreusel A B

A Marine Biology Section, Biology Department, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281–S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
B CeMoFE, Center for Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
C Protistology and Aquatic Ecology, Biology Department, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281–S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
D Université d’Aix-Marseille, 13007, Marseille, France.
E CNRS UMR 7263 Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et continentale (IMBE), 13007, Marseille, France.
F Station Marine d’Endoume, rue Batterie des Lions, 13007 Marseille, France.
G Université de Perpignan, Laboratoire de Chimie des Biomolécules & de l’Environnement, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan, France.
H Corresponding author. Email: julie.reveillaud@ugent.be

Invertebrate Systematics 26(3) 230-248 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS11044
Submitted: 1 November 2011  Accepted: 20 February 2012   Published: 21 September 2012

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The identification of sponges that lack a mineral skeleton is always highly challenging, especially for Hexadella species, which are also fibreless. Recently, the yellow species Hexadella pruvoti Topsent was identified as a cryptic species complex while the pink coloured Hexadella racovitzai Topsent showed two highly divergent lineages. We performed a COI phylogenetic reconstruction using 27 new Mediterranean Hexadella samples in order to confirm the presence of divergent lineages within both shallow-water species. Specimens were described with an integrative approach combining morphological and cytological investigations, biochemical profiling and assessment of natural toxicity in order to identify diagnostic characters for each taxon. H. topsenti, sp. nov. is distinguished from H. racovitzai by its colour, its surface network shape, divergent secondary metabolite patterns and toxicity values. H. crypta, sp. nov. differs from H. pruvoti by a different encrusting growth form when alive, and by distinctively colouring the ethanol fixative solution. In addition, H. pruvoti and H. crypta show different types of cells with inclusions as well as distinct metabolic fingerprints. Natural toxicity values, however, do not permit the separation of H. pruvoti and H. crypta. Our work shows that only the use of a combination of complementary tools can provide relevant descriptions for some problematic taxa.

Additional keywords: biochemistry, cytology, Hexadella, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy, toxicity.


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