Gastrotrich biodiversity in the Arctic region is virtually unknown. Here we present, for the first time, a Gastrotricha investigation from both freshwater and marine habitats in the Hornsund fjord area (Spitsbergen, Arctic). Our research was conducted on the transect at various distances from the foreland of the Hans glacier (Spitsbergen, Arctic). The collected material contained representatives of 15 species belonging to 6 genera, 3 families and 2 orders. From all of the recorded taxa, 6 freshwater and 1 marine species proved to be new species and are described in this paper as Chaetonotus (Chaetonotus) bombardus sp. nov., C. (C.) subtilis sp. nov., C. (Hystricochaetonotus) borealis sp. nov., C. (H.) hornsundi sp. nov., C. (H.) persimilis sp. nov., Lepidodermella polaris sp. nov. and Turbanella pilosum sp. nov. Moreover, 3 other species described from Isfjorden area, another Spitsbergen locality, namely C. (C.) gelidus, C. (C.) jaceki and C. (C.) svalbardi, were found during our research, which may suggest a high specificity of Arctic Gastrotricha fauna. In this work we provide both morphological and morphometric data and we present the phylogenetic position of the newly described and newly found species based on nuclear 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequence data.
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Vol. 68 • No. 4