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Deep-Sea Echinoderms of New Zealand

Family Gorgonocephalidae

Family Gorgonocephalidae

Gorgonocephalus Leach, 1815

Gorgonocephalus chilensis (Philippi)

  • Mortensen, Th. Vid. Medd. dansk naturh. For. 77, p. 109. Pl. IV (1).

Material Examined: A fragment of an arm from 500–600 fathoms, Cook Strait, VUZ Station 75, brown mud. The specimen does not differ from corresponding material from the Cook Strait shelf. The species is evidently rare, as only one other specimen (a large one) has been brought in over the past fifteen years. It was page 21entangled in a net at 40 fathoms. I now think it likely that the species is abyssal, but occasionally ascends the Cook Strait canyon to the shelf above.

Astroporpa Oersted & Luetken, 1856

Astroporpa wilsoni Bell, 1917 .

  • Fell, H. B., 1951. Zoo. Pub. Vict. Univ., 13, p. 4.

Material Examined: A single specimen from 150 fathoms, off Mercury Bay, Coromandel, adhering to a gorgonid, Paracis sp.

Astrothorax Doederlein, 1911

Astrothorax waitei (Benham)

  • Astrotoma waitei Fell, H., 1952. Zool. Pub. Via. Univ. 18, p. 13.

Material Examined: Numerous specimens from shelf stations in Cook Strait, and also the following ones from deeper waters: 200–300 fathoms, Cook Strait, VUZ Station 51, 1 juvenile; 216 fathoms, 20 miles west of Hokitika, Westland, H. W. Wellman, 1 specimen; 150 fathoms, Cook Strait, VUZ Station 98, 4 specimens; 130 fathoms, Station 34, Chatham Is. Expedition, 1 specimen.

Remarks: The species is probably androphorous, as a number of individuals carry a much smaller individual adhering to the disc, in the same way as Mortensen (1936) has recorded for Astrochlamys bruneus Koehler.

As indicated above, this species ought to be referred to Astrothorax, a fact already pointed out by Döderlein (1927), though overlooked in subsequent records. The girdle hooklets bear one secondary tooth, whereas in Astrotoma secondary teeth are lacking.

Astrothamnus Matsumoto, 1915

Astrothamnus benhami (Bell)

  • Astrotoma benhami. Mortensen, Th., 1924. Vid. Medd. dansk naturh. For., 77, p. 104–6, Pl. IV (6–7).

Material Examined: None.

This species is still known only from the original type material taken in 300 fathoms off North Cape, by the Terra Nova. The presence of 3 or more secondary teeth on the girdle hooklets, and thorny granules scattered among the disc granules, indicates that the species should be transferred to Astrothamnus.