Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 733–741 | Cite as

A new genus and species of cheilostome bryozoan associated with hermit crabs in the subantarctic Southwest Atlantic

  • Juan López-Gappa
  • María G. Liuzzi
  • Diego G. Zelaya
Original Paper


Some bryozoan species occur on gastropod shells occupied by hermit crabs, often dominating the shell surface to the exclusion of other encrusters. Symbioses between bryozoans and pagurid crabs are known from a wide latitudinal range, including tropical, warm- and cold-temperate regions. Here we describe Burdwoodipora paguricola gen. et sp. nov., a cheilostome bryozoan associated with pagurized shells occupied by the hermit crab Pagurus comptus White in subantarctic waters of the Southwest Atlantic. The association seems to be obligate, as the bryozoan was always found enlarging the last whorl of its gastropod substrate. The new species, however, is not species specific with regard to its shell substrate, as it was found to be associated with 31 species of gastropods with helicoidal coiling. Well-developed colonies may project up to 360° from the outer lip of the shell. The chamber built by the bryozoan is usually larger than the whorl that would have been generated by the gastropod. This is one of the few known cases of an obligate association between a bryozoan and a pagurid crab outside the ascophoran family Hippoporidridae and is also the first bryozoan/hermit crab symbiosis documented in the subantarctic region. The inclusion of Burdwoodipora in the Pacificincolidae, a family currently represented by just four species from the Northern Hemisphere, is discussed.


Bryozoa Symbiosis Pagurid crabs Pagurus comptus Burdwood Bank 



We are grateful to Dennis Gordon for advice about the taxonomic affinities of Burdwoodipora, and to Ricardo Bastida and Laura Schejter for the material collected during the RV Shinkai Maru and FV Erin Bruce cruises, respectively. We also thank the crews of the RV Puerto Deseado and the coastguard GC-189 Prefecto García, and particularly Marina Güller, for their help to obtain the samples. Matías Urcola, Carla Minghetti and María del Mar Eivers helped us to sort the material from the sediment in the laboratory. L. Schejter and Mariana Abelando coordinated the cruises of the Puerto Deseado and Prefecto García, respectively. D. Gordon and Paul Taylor made useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Financial support by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (PIP 2013–2015 No. 0247 to JLG), Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2012–1043 to JLG and PICT 2016–2983 to DGZ) and Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBACyT 20020150100195BA to DGZ) is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan López-Gappa
    • 1
    • 3
  • María G. Liuzzi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Diego G. Zelaya
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Museo Argentino de Ciencias NaturalesCiudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento Biodiversidad y Biología ExperimentalFCEN – UBACiudad de Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina

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