NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY
Winter 2009/10 Number 27
Mackie, A.S.Y., Darbyshire, T., Bamber, R.N. & Turner, J.A. 2010.
Notes on new benthic invertebrates from the southern Irish Sea.
Porcupine Marine Natural History Society Newsletter 27: 24-27.
PMNHS Newsletter No.27 Winter 2009/10
Haploniscidae, Mictosomatidae, Ischnomesidae.
Akademia Nauk, Opredeliteli po Fauna SSSR, No.
Tattersall, W. M. 1905. The marine fauna of
the coast of Ireland. Part 5. Isopoda. Scientiﬁc
Investigations for 1904, Fisheries Branch,
Ireland 2: 1-90.
Watling, L. (1989) A classiﬁcation system
for crustacean setae based on the homology
concept. In: Felgenhauer, B.E., Watling, L.
&Thistle, A.B. (Eds). Functional Morphology
of Feeding and Grooming. Crustacean Issues,
Wilson, G.D., 1997. The suborder Asellota. In
‘Taxonomic Atlas of the benthic Fauna of the
Santa Maria Basin and Western Santa Barbara
Channel’. (Blake J.A. & Scott J.H., eds). Vol.
11: 59-120. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural
History: Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
Wolff, T., 1962. The systematics and biology of
bathyal and abyssal Isopoda Asellota. Galathea
Report, Vol. 6: 1-320, pl. 1-19.
Notes on new benthic
invertebrates from the southern
Andrew S.Y. Mackie1, Teresa Darbyshire1, Roger N.
Bamber2 & James A. Turner1
1 Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales,
Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
2 ARTOO Marine Biology Consultants LLP, Ocean
Quay Marina, Belvidere Road, Southampton SO14
A number of new, or potentially new, benthic
invertebrates were found during the recently
published Habitat mapping for conservation
and management of the Southern Irish Sea
(HABMAP) study (Robinson et al. 2009a,
b; Mortimer and Wilson 2009). Several of
these were additionally remarkable from a
distribution and biogeography viewpoint.
HABMAP was a four-year seabed mapping
project covering the southern part of the Irish
Sea. The project was partly funded by the
European Union INTERREG IIIA programme
for Welsh-Irish collaboration (www.habmap.
org), and led by the Countryside Council for
Wales and Trinity College Dublin. Biologists,
geologists and modellers worked closely
together to characterize, map and model
seabed habitats in the study area.
The four species included in this account
comprise two polychaetes, one echiuran and
one pycnogonid. Recent molecular studies
(e.g., Struck et al. 2007) contradict traditional
classiﬁcation schemes and the polychaetes
and echiurans are considered annelids, along
with the clitellates (oligochaetes, leeches)
and sipunculans. Relationships within the
Annelida are still uncertain.
Darbyshire and Mackie (2009) described a
new species of Diplocirrus (Flabelligeridae),
D. stopbowitzi (Fig. 1). This species had
been recognized in previous BIOMÔR surveys
(e.g., Mackie et al. 1995), but additional
material collected in the HABMAP study and
subsequently (Blyth-Skyrme et al. 2008)
helped facilitate a detailed description. The
retractable gills were found to be very similar
to the same two forms present in D. glaucus
(Malmgren), the species most commonly found
in UK waters. The two species differ in the
appearance of the epidermal papillation, and
in the lack of elongated anterior bristles in D.
Fig. 1. Diplocirrus stopbowitzi, lateral view (gills and palps
retracted). Note small ‘globular’ epidermal papillae.
Furthermore, the two species inhabited different
sediments and did not co-occur. Diplocirrus
glaucus was mainly recorded from muddy sand,
PMNHS Newsletter No.27 Winter 2009/10 25
though present in sediments ranging from mud
to sandy gravel (18-145 m). In contrast, the
new species was common in coarser sediments,
particularly the sandy gravels and gravelly
sands found in the St George’s Channel area
in the middle of the southern Irish Sea (Fig.
4). Diplocirrus stopbowitzi has subsequently
been recorded from the Isles of Scilly (pers.
obs.), southwest Ireland (McCormack, pers
comm.) and northwest Scotland (Hamilton,
The other new polychaete considered here is
currently being described as part of a larger
revision (Darbyshire and Mackie) and is, as
yet, unnamed. It belongs to Uncispio, a poorly
known spioniform genus with characteristically
large hooked bristles on the last few tail
segments. At present, the genus is placed in
its own family, the Uncispionidae.
The only known species U. hartmanae Green,
1982 occurs in the Paciﬁc, off California (clay,
222 m), and was described from three small
specimens less than 5 mm long. Specimens of
the new Irish Sea species are up to about 15 mm
in length. They were found in abundance (up
to 251/0.2 m2) at two of the deeper locations
(127 and 169 m) to the west of Anglesey (Fig.
4) and are a major component of a newly
recognized boulder clay habitat (Robinson et al
2009a). A single specimen was recorded from
the same area during an earlier survey carried
out by Unicomarine (Worsfold, pers. comm).
The two posterior fragments collected from
HABMAP station 13, Arklow Bank (28 m), off
the Irish east coast (Fig. 4) were from a sample
recorded as slightly gravelly sand. At ﬁrst
sight this appears at variance with the Uncispio
dominated habitat off Anglesey. However, it
must be noted that, the boulder clay there
occurred in close proximity to coarser sandy
sediments; grabs would collect sand, clay, or
a mixture of both. In some Sediment Proﬁle
Imagery (SPI) photographs the sand was shown
overlying the clay. It may well be that the new
Uncispio is more widespread than presently
known and can occur wherever boulder clay
is exposed on the seabed.
The echiuran is unusual and appears to belong
to the genus Prometor Fisher, known for 4
species described from the Paciﬁc Ocean (see
Stephen and Edmonds 1972). In life the
specimens are white and translucent with
strap-like proboscises that are characteristically
expanded as shallow somewhat scalloped
funnels (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Prometor sp., anterior showing paired hooked
chaetae and scalloped funnel-like base of proboscis.
The species was found in the same boulder
clay samples off Anglesey as Uncispio (Fig.
4) and shows some similarity to P. procula
Hartman, 1960 known from stiff clay, in
deep water (1821 m) off southern California.
However, the Irish Sea material was generally
small (up to about 1.5 cm long; proboscis
variable, up to twice body length) compared
to the large (19 cm) Californian species. The
largest specimen (lacking the proboscis) was
2.7 cm long. Biseswar (2006) described a
single unnamed specimen of this genus from
the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (4844 m). The
Irish Sea specimens share the same lobed
cup at the base of the proboscis as this small
specimen, but the paired hooks are much more
curved. Additional material may be necessary
to resolve the taxonomy.
The new sea spider, Sericosura conta Bamber,
2009 (Fig. 3), represents the ﬁrst discovery of
the genus in European waters. Sericosura Fry
& Hedgpeth is a genus of the Ammotheidae
obligately-associated with chemically-reduced
seabed habitats, including hydrothermal vents
and cold-seeps. The species are generally
robust, with the cephalon characteristically
ﬂared anteriorly, and the chelifores (when
present) mounted on the anterior face of the
cephalon. The palps are either 7- or 9-articled.
PMNHS Newsletter No.27 Winter 2009/10
The cement gland in the male is mostly
mounted proximally on the femur, although
mesially in one species, and its presence has
not been discovered in one other (despite
its being extremely common): in all other
ammotheids, the cement gland is distal on
the femur. Sexual dimorphism is marked in
the ovigers, and in the posterior walking legs
in one species. S. conta is distinguished from
its congeners by its very compact chelifores,
and by the auxiliary claw on the walking legs
being as long as the main claw (shorter in all
Fig. 3. Sericosura conta, lateral view. Note presence of
short chelifores and 9-articled palps, respectively dorsal
and lateral to the stout proboscis. First leg present, others
The type species, S. mitrata Gordon, from
the Antarctic, was previously the shallowest
species known (recorded depth range 106-2154
m). However, the new Irish Sea species occurs
in very shallow water (20 m). The other eight
recognized species are from the mid-Atlantic
Ridge (1), Antarctic (1) and Paciﬁc Ocean
(6). The genus is usually found associated
with deeper hydrothermal-vent or seep areas
associated with oceanic ridges, at depths of
850-2600 m. The seabed at the type locality
off Wicklow Head (Fig. 4) was stony, though it
is possible that a gas seep is present there: gas
seeps are known to occur at various locations
in the Irish Sea (Croker 1995; Croker et al.
2005). Intriguingly, S. conta is most similar to
S. verenae (Child), recorded from the Northern
Paciﬁc vent systems of Juan de Fuca, Gorda
and Explorer Ridges, the Endeavour Segment,
Axial Seamount and off northern California.
The new species has a body about 4 mm across
with legs over 15 mm long (Fig. 3).
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions
of all those involved in the HABMAP project.
We are grateful also to Sue Hamilton (Marine
Consultant, Currie, Scotland), Eddie McCormack
(Aqua-Fact International, Galway, Ireland)
and Tim Worsfold (Unicomarine, Letchworth,
England) for additional distributional
Bamber, R.N. 2009. Two new species of
Sericosura Fry & Hedgpeth, 1969 (Arthropoda:
Pycnogonida: Ammotheidae), and a
reassessment of the genus. Zootaxa 2140:
Biseswar, R. 2006. Additions to the deep-sea
echiuran (Echiura) fauna of the North-East
Atlantic. Zoosystema 28: 853-864.
Blyth-Skyrme, V., Lindenbaum, C., Verling, E.,
Van Landeghem, K., Robinson, K., Mackie, A.
and Darbyshire, T. 2008. Broadscale biotope
mapping of potential reefs in the Irish Sea
(northwest of Anglesey). JNCC Report 423:
Croker, P.F. 1995. Shallow gas accumulation
and migration in the western Irish Sea. In:
The Petroleum Geology of Ireland’s Offshore
Basins (Eds P.F. Croker and P. M. Shannon).
Geological Society of London Special Publication
No. 93: 41-58.
Croker, P. F., Kozachenko, M. and Wheeler,
A.J. 2005. Gas-related seabed structures in
the western Irish Sea (IRL-SEA6). Technical
report produced for Strategic Environmental
Assessment - SEA6. 120 pp. [www.offshore-sea.
Darbyshire, T. and Mackie, A.S.Y. 2009.
Two new species of Diplocirrus (Polychaeta:
Flabelligeridae) from the southern Irish Sea
and South Africa. In: Proceedings of the 9th
International Polychaete Conference, Portland,
PMNHS Newsletter No.27 Winter 2009/10 27
Maine 2007 (Eds N.J. Maciolek and J.A. Blake).
Zoosymposia 2: 91-103. [www.mapress.com/
Green, K.D. 1982. Uncispionidae, a new
polychaete family (Annelida). Proceedings
of the Biological Society of Washington 95:
Hartman, O. 1960. Systematic account of some
marine invertebrate animals from the deep
basins off southern California. In: The benthic
fauna of the deep basins off southern California,
Part II (O. Hartman & J. L. Barnard). Allan
Hancock Paciﬁc Expeditions 22(2): 69-215.
Mackie, A.S.Y., Oliver, P.G. & Rees, E.I.S. 1995.
Benthic biodiversity in the southern Irish Sea.
Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Systematics
from the National Museum of Wales. BIOMÔR
Reports 1: 263 pp.
Mortimer, K. and Wilson, H. 2009. HABMAP:
Habitat mapping for conservation and
management of the southern Irish Sea —
Searchable Data Facility and Resources.
Countryside Council for Wales & Amgueddfa
Cymru — National Museum Wales. DVD-ROM.
Robinson, K. A., Darbyshire, T., Van Landeghem,
K., Lindenbaum, C., McBreen, F., Creaven, S.,
Ramsay, K., Mackie, A.S.Y., Mitchell, N. C.,
Wheeler, A., Wilson, J. G. and O’Beirn, F.
2009a. Habitat mapping for conservation
and management of the southern Irish Sea
(HABMAP). I: Seabed surveys. Studies in
Marine Biodiversity and Systematics from the
National Museum of Wales. BIOMÔR Reports
5(1): 234 pp.
Robinson, K. A., Ramsay, K., Lindenbaum, C.,
Frost, N., Moore, J., Petrey, D. and Darbyshire,
T. 2009b. Habitat mapping for conservation
and management of the southern Irish Sea
(HABMAP). II: Modelling & Mapping. Studies
in Marine Biodiversity and Systematics from
the National Museum of Wales. BIOMÔR Reports
5(2): 210 pp.
Stephen, A. C. & Edmonds, S. J. 1972. The Phyla
Sipuncula and Echiura. The British Museum
(Natural History), London. 528 pp.
Struck, T.H., Schult, N., Kusen, T., Hickman,
E., Bleidorn, C., McHugh, D. and Halanych,
K.M. 2007. Annelid phylogeny and the status
of Sipuncula and Echiura. BMC Evolutionary
Biology 7-57: 11 pp. [www.biomedcentral.
Fig. 4. Distribution of Diplocirrus stopbowitzi,
Uncispio n.sp. and Sericosura conta in the
southern Irish Sea area.
CONFERENCE 2010 — Changing Seas 2
FIELD MEETING 2010 Porcupine Marine Natural History Society Annual Field Meeting 2010
Isles of Scilly 4
FIELD MEETINGS 2009
Spring ﬁeld trip 2009 – Plymouth 7
Autumn Field trip 2009 – St. Abbs and Eyemouth VMNR 9
The NMBAQC Scheme – Setting the record straight. Myles O’Reilly (NMBAQC Committee) 15
Some notes on an unusual mollusc, Serpulorbis arenarius (Linné, 1767)
– The giant worm shell Peter Barﬁeld and Evelina Capasso 18
Rediscovery, redescription and resurrection of Metamunna typica Tattersall, 1905 (Peracarida,
Isopoda, Asellota, Paramunnidae). Roger N. Bamber & Roni S. Robbins 21
Notes on new benthic invertebrates from the southern Irish Sea Andrew S.Y. Mackie,
Teresa Darbyshire, Roger N. Bamber & James A. Turner 24
PORCUPINE PROBLEMS - Information Requests and Observations 28
A further note on mass stranding of hyperiid amphipods on northeast beaches.
Frank Evans 28
Reproduction and habitat of the marine alga Padina pavonica (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae)
in the British Isles. Roger Herbert, Bill Farnham & Ian Tittley 28
Blue-rayed limpets (var. laevis) Jon Moore and Christine Howson 29
The Silent Landscape: In the wake of HMS “Challenger” 1872-1876. Review by Frank Evans 31
A ﬁeld guide to the marine ﬁshes of Wales and adjacent waters Review by John Lancaster 33
Instructions to Authors 35