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Deep-Sea Echinoderms of New Zealand

Amphiura Forbes, 1842

Amphiura Forbes, 1842

Amphiura angularis Lyman
  • Lyman, T., 1882. Challenger Ophiuroidea, p. 134–5, Pl. 24.

Material Examined: Three specimens which I take to be of this species, from 550 fathoms, VUZ Station 83, Cook Strait.

Remarks: R 30 mm approximately, r 3 mm. The disc is rather strongly indented at the interradii, without spines, the scales imbricating above but, save at the ambitus, the disc is more or less naked below. The outer oral papilla is spiniform, erect, the inner pair scale-like. The adoral plates are barely contiguous within. Oral shield triangular, the apex proximad. Radial shields about one-third r, twice as long as broad, divergent proximad. their outer margins convex, their inner margins straight, separated by a narrow wedge of 7 or 8 scales. Dorsal arm-plates transversely elliptical, broadly in contact on the proximal half of the arm. Ventral plates quadrangular. Two tentacle-scales at the base of the arm, elsewhere one only. Five to six subequal arm-spines, which are no longer than a segment, and form an erect comb.

The type locality of this species is Challenger Station 150, in 150 fathoms, off Kerguelen Islands. The New Zealand material seems to resemble the Kerguelen form so closely as to warrant regarding both as of the same species. Amphiura angularis has not previously been reported from Australasia.

Amphiura heraldica Fell.
  • Fell, H. B., 1952. Zoo. Pubs. Vict. Univ., 18, p. 16–18, Figs. 5–7.

Material Examined: Three specimens, two of them from 350 fathoms, Canyon C, off east Otago (E. Batham), the other one from 300 fathoms, off east Otago, Dom. Mus. Station B.S.190.

The holotype was from Discovery Station 2733, Chatham Rise, west of Chatham Islands, in 300 metres.

Amphiura norae Benham
  • Benham, W. B., 1909. Rec. Cant. Mus. 1 (2), p. 104–5, Pl. 10.

Material Examined: Sixteen specimens, from the following archibenthal stations: 300 fathoms, Chatham Rise, Station 5, Chatham Islands 1954 Expedition, 1 specimen; also from the same expedition, 290 fathoms, Station 59 (2 individuals), and 260 fathoms, Station 52 (4 individuals); 154 fathoms, Milford Sound, N.Z. page 27Oceanographic Institute Station A 319, 5 specimens; 113–120 fathoms, off Mayor Island, Bay of Plenty, Dom. Mus. Station B.S.208, 1 specimen; 145 fathoms, off Cape Kidnappers, Kotuku Station 3, J. A. F. Garrick, 2 specimens.

As no specimens of Amphiura abernethyi Fell appear in the deep-water collections, it is still not possible to establish the relationship between it and A. norae. It is possible that A. abernethyi is a larger, more robust and more fully developed form of A. norae, perhaps confined to the continental shelf.

Amphiura pusilla Farquhar
  • Farquhar, H., 1897. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool., 26, p. 191, Pl. 14.

Material Examined; Twelve specimens—ca. 275 fathoms, Canyon A, east of Otago Heads, E. Batham, 3 specimens; 150 fathoms, Cook Strait, VUZ Station 98, 4 specimens; 120 fathoms, Cook Strait, NW of Mana Island, Dom. Mus. Station B.S.197, 5 specimens.

Amphiura hinemoae Mortensen
  • Mortensen, Th., 1924. Vid. Medd. dansk naturh. For., 77, p. 148–50. Fig. 24.

Material Examined: Three specimens from 400 fathoms, NE of Mayor Island, Bay of Plenty, Dom. Mus. Station B.S.210.

The species was originally described on the basis of 2 specimens taken in 55 fathoms off White Island, Bay of Plenty. It has since been taken on other shelf localities off the South Island (Fell, 1952, p. 15), from as far south as Dusky Sound. This is the first record of the species as an abyssal form, and it is desirable to indicate certain atypical features of the new material, making its identification not entirely clear. In particular the radial shields are relatively larger and more exposed in the deep-water specimens, and the six primary plates are not at all prominent. I do not feel that the evidence warrants our establishing a separate species for the form. One specimen has the outer oral papilla distinctly spiniform—thus showing that the difference between Amphiura hinemoae and the North Pacific A. seminuda Ltk. & Mrtsn. is not so great as Mortensen (1924) believed.

Amphiura aster Farquhar
  • Farquhar, H., 1901. Trans. N.Z. Inst., 33, p. 250.

Material Examined: 260 fathoms, Canyon A, off east Otago, Alert Station 54.17, 3 juvenile specimens.

Of the material seen, only the largest specimen (disc 4 mm in diameter) shows the characteristic arrangement of the tentacle-scales. The smaller ones show no tentacle-scales at all. All specimens have the disc incompletely scaled, especially below, where it is almost naked. The external lobe is lacking from the oral shield. All these differences, however, are probably an expression of immaturity.