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Zoolog Sci. 2006 Aug;23(8):733-40.

A new species of Osedax (Annelida: Siboglinidae) associated with whale carcasses off Kyushu, Japan.

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Marine Biology and Ecology Research Program, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan.


A new whale-bone-eating polychaete species of the genus Osedax was found on sperm whale carcasses submerged off Cape Nomamisaki, Kyushu, Japan, at a depth of approximately 200 m. The new species, Osedax japonicus, is the fourth known species of the genus Osedax and the first species from the western Pacific. Female O. japonicus specimens (1) form dense clusters on whale carcasses; (2) have a body composed of crown, trunk, and root structure; (3) lack a digestive tract; and (4) have bacterium-like particles in the tissue of the root structure. Osedax japonicus shares all these characteristics with O. rubiplumus and O. frankpressi, and items (1) to (3) with O. mucofloris. Osedax japonicus is easily distinguished from the other three known species by oviduct morphology, body length, and palp coloration in females. No males of O. japonicus have yet been found.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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