How to translate text using browser tools
14 July 2023 Resolving the taxonomy of the Antarctic feather star species complex Promachocrinuskerguelensis’ (Echinodermata: Crinoidea)
Emily L. McLaughlin, Nerida G. Wilson, Greg W. Rouse
Author Affiliations +

An increasing number of Antarctic invertebrate taxa have been revealed as cryptic species complexes following DNA-based assessments. This ultimately necessitates a morphological reassessment to find traits that will help identify these cryptic or pseudocryptic species without the need for sequencing every individual. This work concerns comatulid crinoid echinoderms long considered to represent a single, circum-Antarctic species, Promachocrinus kerguelensis. The first molecular studies sought to distinguish the diversity in the complex and understand the constituent species distributions but stopped short of formal taxonomic assessment. Here, we continued to increase sample representation around the Southern Ocean and sequenced the mitochondrial COI gene for all new specimens, and additional genes for a few representatives. We also elucidated previously unappreciated features, particularly body pigmentation and morphology of the centrodorsal ossicle in an attempt to diagnose some species morphologically and based on DNA data. The species complex within Promachocrinus is here resolved into P. kerguelensis Carpenter, 1879, P. vanhoeffenianus Minckert, 1905, P. joubini Vaney, 1910, P. mawsoni (Clark, 1937) comb. nov. (transferred from Florometra) and four previously unnamed species, P. fragarius sp. nov., P. unruhi sp. nov., P. uskglassi sp. nov. and P. wattsorum sp. nov. Although most species can be distinguished morphologically, several cannot be reliably separated without DNA data. All sequenced species are essentially circum-Antarctic, with the notable exception of P. wattsorum sp. nov. that is restricted to the Prince Edward Islands in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean and P. vanhoeffenianus that is only known from the type locality in the Davis Sea. The vast nature of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystem dictates large scale sampling to understand the full extent of the biodiversity.


Emily L. McLaughlin, Nerida G. Wilson, and Greg W. Rouse "Resolving the taxonomy of the Antarctic feather star species complex Promachocrinuskerguelensis’ (Echinodermata: Crinoidea)," Invertebrate Systematics 37(7), 498-527, (14 July 2023).
Received: 2 November 2022; Accepted: 15 June 2023; Published: 14 July 2023
cryptic species
feather star
species delineation
Get copyright permission
Back to Top