Scientists have described four new species xenophyophore from the bottom of the Pacific ocean

Researchers have described four new species of giant single-celled xenophyophore from the abyssal plains of the Clarion-Clipperton in the Pacific ocean. Three of them were so peculiar, that they had to refer to two new genera. On opening the authors said in an article for journal European Journal of Protistology.

Most single-celled eukaryotic organisms, which are previously United into the Kingdom protozoa (Protozoa), are characterized by microscopic sizes. However, there are also real giants. For example, members of the group xenophyophore (Xenophyophoroidea) are not only distinguishable to the naked eye, but can reach a diameter of twenty centimeters. These unusual creatures encountered in the deep layers of the ocean where live in houses made of various mineral fragments, such as fragments of skeletons of other organisms.

One of the places where xenophyophore thrive, Pacific plain the Clarion-Clipperton, stretching from California to the Hawaiian Islands at a depth of about five kilometers. To explore this territory is not easy, so that biodiversity remains poorly studied. Meanwhile, here is the planned large-scale mining, namely, polymetallic nodules.

A team of researchers headed by Andrew Hudeem (Andrew J. Gooday) from London’s natural history Museum managed to Supplement existing knowledge about xenophyophore zone Clarion-Clipperton. They analyzed the samples collected by remotely operated underwater vehicle Lu ukai in 2018 in the Western part of the zone, which still has been studied much worse in Eastern and Central. Before collecting organisms robot photographed them in their natural environment.

Based on images and genetic analysis, scientists have identified eleven different xenophyophore, two of which belonged to already known species Stannophyllum zonarium and Aschemonella monile. Five more organisms to identify to species was not possible. The greatest attention was attracted by four xenophyophore, who were representatives of a new species. One of them, Psammina tenuis, they attributed to the genus, which was described in the XIX century. However, the other three had to create a new kind.

Xenophyophore with large fan-shaped house with a diameter of several centimeters and is constructed of fragments of radiolarians, included in new genus Moanammina, whose name comes from the Hawaiian word for “ocean”. Its only got the scientific name M. semicircularis. Two xenophyophore attributed to a new genus Abyssalia (from the English abyss, “the abyss”), the hallmark of which is loose houses made of sponge spicules. Sample form A. foliformis house has a leaf-shaped form, and A. sphaerica — spherical.

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