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Biol Bull. 2013 Oct;225(2):113-23.

An externally brooding acorn worm (Hemichordata, Enteropneusta, Torquaratoridae) from the Russian arctic.

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Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 20013-7012;


A single specimen of a previously undescribed acorn worm in the family Torquaratoridae was trawled from a bottom depth of about 350 m in the Kara Sea (Russian Arctic). The new species is the shallowest of the exclusively deep-sea torquaratorids found to date, possibly an example of high-latitude emergence. On the basis of ribosomal DNA sequences and morphology, the worm is described here as the holotype of Coleodesmium karaensis n. gen., n. sp. It is most similar in overall body shape to the previously described enteropneust genus Allapasus, but is uniquely characterized by a tubular component of the proboscis skeleton ensheathing the collar nerve cord. Additionally, within the proboscis, the sparseness of the musculature of C. karaensis clearly distinguishes it from the much more muscular members of Allapasus. The holotype is a female bearing about a dozen embryos on the surface of her pharyngeal region, each recessed within a shallow depression in the dorsal epidermis. The embryos, ranging from late gastrula to an early stage of coelom formation, are a little more than 1 mm in diameter and surrounded by a thin membrane. Each embryo comprises an external ectoderm of monociliated cells (not arranged in obvious ciliated bands) and an internal endo-mesoderm; the blastopore is closed. In the most advanced embryos, the anterior coelom is starting to constrict off from the archenteron. Coleodesmium karaensis is the first enteropneust (and indeed the first hemichordate) found brooding embryos on the surface of the mother's body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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