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Describing a New Species of Sea Star From Davidson Seamount

Davidson Seamount - Evoplosoma voratus - MBARI
<strong>Figure 1.</strong> Deep-sea sea star (<em>Evoplosoma voratus</em> sp. nov.) and bamboo coral (<em>Lepidisis</em> sp.) collected at Davidson Seamount using MBARI’s ROV <em>Tiburon</em> (Credit: NOAA/MBARI 2006).

A deep-sea sea star observed and collected during the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s 2006 research expedition to Davidson Seamount has been taxonomically described and assigned a new scientific name, Evoplosoma voratus.

At the time of collection, the unnamed sea star was observed feeding on the bamboo coral, Lepidisis sp., at 3,035 meters depth (Fig. 1).  Sea stars from the genus Evoplosoma are rarely encountered, and the specimen collected at Davidson Seamount could not be reconciled with any known species.  This motivated research on the sea star, resulting in a formal description of the new species (i.e., previously unnamed and undescribed).

Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and National Marine Fisheries Service assigned the Latin name voratus which means to ‘greedily devour’ in reference to its observed feeding habits on deep-sea coral (Mah et al. 2010).  The taxonomic description can be found in the October 2010 issue of Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00638.x/abstract).

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Collaborating institutions during the 2006 expedition to Davidson Seamount included the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, British Broadcasting Corporation, and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration.

The Davidson Seamount was added to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2009 for its special national significance relative to ocean conservation, ecological, scientific, educational, aesthetic, and historical qualities.  For more information on Davidson Seamount, see http://montereybay.noaa.gov/research/dsmz/welcome.html.

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Literature Cited:

Mah, C., M. Nizinski, L. Lundsten. 2010. Phylogenetic revision of the Hippasterinae (Goniasteridae; Asteroidea): systematics of deep sea corallivores, including one new genus and three new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160:266-301.

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