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Spiniferaphonte, a New Genus of Laophontidae (Copepoda: Harpacticoida), with Notes on the Occurrence of Processes on the Caudal Rami

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Abstract A new genus and species of Laophontidae, Spiniferaphonte ornata n. gen., n. sp., is described from the coast of Kenya. The new genus is closely related to Laophontina and Wellsiphontina as shown by the following synapomorphies: a denticulate operculum, a sexually dimorphic P4 exopod (reduced chaetotaxy of the ultimate segment in the male), and the absence of sexual dimorphism in the P2 and P3 endopods. The two-segmented exopod of P1 and the presence of a seta on the endopodal part of the male P5 are plesiomorphies indicating that the new genus represents a separate lineage within this group. The proposal of the new genus Spiniferaphonte is supported by the following autapomorphies: three smooth setae on the female P5 exopod and a robust, dorsally bent, and strongly sclerotised caudal seta V. Within the Laophontidae, it is striking that the presence of distinct, thorn-like processes on the caudal rami is limited to interstitial genera. Distinct processes on the proximal segments of the antennule and a proximally thickened caudal seta V also appear to be associated with this interstitiality. These structures may play a role in the movement and the anchoring of the animals in their interstitial habitat.

Affiliations: 1: a (HG, MV, MDT) Marine Biology Section, Ghent University, Sterre Complex—Building S8, Krijgslaan 281, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium (corresponding author (HG): ; 2: b (FF) Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Section of Recent Invertebrates, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium


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