Maritigrella fuscopunctata Newman & Cannon, 2000
Pseudoceros fuscopunctatus Prudhoe, 1977; Eurylepta fuscopunctatus Gosliner, Behrens & Williams, 1996.
Type material location
The holotype and paratype were deposited in the Australian Museum but they appear to be lost. There is a whole mount of an entire specimen deposited at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.
The diagnostic character for this species is the cream-white background with black-purple spots in transverse rows and orange spots in the media area of the body.
External morphology: Small body with a cream-white background with large purple-black spots in transverse rows and black spots surrounded by purple-violet color. Margin and marginal tentacles with small black spots and orange spots in a honey comb pattern in the median region. The ventral surface has the same pattern without orange spots. Pointed marginal tentacles with small eyes scattered and a wide and round cerebral cluster formed by two groups of numerous eyes close to each other. A small, tubular, and muscular pharynx located anteriorly.
Internal anatomy: The male system has a small and oval seminal vesicle with a wide ejaculatory duct, a large and oval prostatic vesicle with a long and wide prostatic duct, and small stylet. The female system has a shallow antrum with a short vagina surrounded by the cement glands and without uterine vesicles.
Ecology and Distribution
This species has been found at Heron Island and Wistari reef in southern Great Barrier Reef. It has been also found in Western Australia, Coff’s Harbor in northern New South Wales, Malé Atoll in the Maldives, Flores in Indonesia and Micronesia.
Evolution and Systematics
This is a clear example that specimens from the genus Maritigrella are often confused with pseudocerotids. Prudhoe (1977) originally described this species as Pseudoceros fuscopunctatus even though he clearly observed a tubular pharynx described as “an elongate muscular structure.” Based on the color description made by Prudhoe (1977) as “pearl white with transverse languettes of black along the margin, margin with broad band of irregular brown golden spots”, Newman & Cannon (2000) recognized that this is the same species. Because of the presence of a tubular pharynx, they made the new combination Maritigrella fuscopunctata.
Newman, L.J., & Cannon, L.R.G. (2000) A new genus of euryleptid flatworm (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida, Euryleptidae) from the Indo-Pacific. Journal of Natural History, 34: 191–205.