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Nephrospyris renilla Haeckel, 1887

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Benson, 1966, p. 302-304; pl. 21, fig. 5:

Nephrodictyum renilla (Haeckel)

Nephrospyris renilla Haeckel, 1887, Challenger Rept., Zool., vol. 18, p.1101, Pl. 90, figs. 9, 10.

Large, discoidal test with a deep sagittal constriction in its outline at the basal pole, giving the test a reniform shape. Sagittal ring centrally located; three-bladed except for a short, cylindrical median bar; asymmetrical with a straight, vertical apical bar, a straight, ventrally ascending vertical bar, and an angulated superior bar; latticed portion of test surrounds lateral, apical, and basal sides of ring, therefore, median bar internal; longest axis of test the lateral axis, intermediate axis the apical-basal axis, and shortest axis the dorsal-ventral axis. Latticed reniform test originates from paired lateral bars arising at four nodes from the sagittal ring, one corresponding in position to the secondary lateral spines, one each at the upper corners of the ring, and a fourth at the near distal termination of the vertical bar. Median bar with a pair of short, thin, conical or thorn-like primary lateral spines, a short stub of an axial spine, a free, thin, conical dorsal spine; a short, thin, conical vertical spine or thorn extends from and is collinear with the vertical bar; the apical spine represented by a bar which branches distally to form part of the test lattice. Dorsal and ventral surfaces of test with large paired pores on either side of the sagittal ring; remainder of lattice with smaller but relatively large, unequal pores of irregular shapes, separated by thin, smooth intervening bars, circular in section. The lateral bars arising from the sagittal ring do not form horizontal rings but outline the large pores of the test on either side of the sagittal ring. Surface of test smooth but irregular.

Measurements; based on 2 specimens from stations 34 and 56: longest axis (maximum lateral extent) 332-387 Ám.; maximum height (apical-basa1, not measured in sagittal axis) 225-299 Ám; sagittal axis (1 specimen) 198 Ám; height of sagittal ring (1 specimen) 86 Ám; length of vertical spine 6 mm, of dorsal spine 6 Ám, of primary lateral spines 11-16 Ám.

Remarks. The Gulf specimens differ from Haeckel's illustration of N. renilla only in the presence of larger pores of the lattice. Haeckel (1887, Pl. 90, fig. 10) illustrates a specimen, presumably of this species, with the skeleton reduced to the sagittal ring only but with a kidney-shaped calymma. Although the ring may be present in the Gulf sediments it is not identifiable as this species.

Distribution. This species is very rare in the Gulf. Only four specimens were observed, one each at stations 34, 46, 56, and 60. It is, therefore, an oceanic species.
Haeckel reported this species from the central Pacific at "Challenger" station 274. No other record of its occurrence was found in the literature.
Benson 1966


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