Alternate Title

The Occurrence of the Remarkable Scyphozoan, Deepstaria enigmatica, in the Gulf of Mexico and Some Observations on Cnidarian Symbionts

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On 8 July 1965 one damaged specimen of the remarkable scyphozoan, Deepstaria enigmatica Russell 1967, was taken in the course of a sampling program conducted by the Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University in a ten-foot Issacs-Kidd midwater trawl in the Yucatan Basin. The trawl was put into water at Lat. 19" 58' N, Long. 85" 14' W. This is the first report of Deepstaria in the Atlantic region. This medusa is otherwise known only from the Pacific Ocean where it has been captured by slurp gun from the submersible Deepstar over the San Diego Trench and has been taken in midwater trawls by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Mid-Pacific Expedition (Barham and Pickwell 1969 and Russell 1967).

The present specimen, although badly torn, is clearly recognizable as D. enigmatica. The anastomosing canal lattice has the characteristic pattern described by Russell. The medusa is a deep purpleblue in color and appears to have had a diameter in excess of 70 cm. The mesogloea is 18 mm. thick near the center of the disc. Oral arms are not discernible and portions of the disc are considerably distorted by local extreme contraction. Fragments of female gonadal material are attached to parts of the subumbrellar surface. These gonadal fragments, too small to permit any observations on gross gonad morphology, contain zygotes in various stages of early cleavage. Ova and zygotes are small (c. 100 microns diameter) and have very little, if any, yolk. The depth at which this jellyfish was taken cannot be stated with any certainty since the collecting device fished from the surface to a depth of 2400 m., no "at depth" closing device having been used.

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