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Echinoderms from Southern New Zealand

Family Ophiochitonidae — Ophioncreis Luetken, 1859

Family Ophiochitonidae
Ophioncreis Luetken, 1859

Ophionereis novae-zelandiae Mrtsn., 1936

  • Alert station 19, one specimen.
  • Island Bay Shelf, ca. 10 fathoms, July, 1950; one specimen.

The disc is grey, the arms grey with narrow black bands at I mm. intervals. The coloration is retained but little altered in spirit.

Ophionereis fasciata (Hutton, 1872)

  • New Golden Hind station NGH L14, one specimen.
  • Alert stations: 4. one specimen; 13, one specimen; 20, six specimens; 18, one specimen.

H. L. Clark (1928), after examining a good series of the Australian Ophionereis schayeri (M. & T., 1844), considers that the differences which Mortensen (1924) found between this and the New Zealand form "... are by no means as constant as could be desired ..." Clark had, however, only a few New Zealand specimens to go upon, and reached no conclusion.

I have examined over the past few years a very extensive series of New Zealand forms from widely scattered localities, including the Auckland Islands, and find that Mortensen's diagnosis of O. fasciata holds good. In one specimen from Alert station 18, however, although the skeletal characters are normal and the structure of the genital clefts and their relationship to the oral shield and general undersurface is as for O. fasciata, the coloration is unlike the usual marbled combination of black, grey, brown, and fawn mottling and banding; instead, there is a greyish-purple disc and arms, lighter below.