ABSTRACT

Using light and scanning electron microscopy of male and female copepods, we herein describe a new species of Neoalbionella Özdikmen, 2008 (Copepoda: Lernaeopodidae), Neoalbionella benzipirata n. sp., infecting the skin of the gulper shark, Centrophorus granulosus (Bloch and Schneider, 1801), in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Females of the new species were assigned to Neoalbionella by having 3 setae on the maxillule lateral palp (vs. 2 setae in Lernaeopoda Nordmann, 1832) and a single accessory denticle on the maxilliped subchela claw (vs. ≥2 denticles in Lernaeopoda). Females of the new species resemble those of Neoalbionella longicaudata (Hansen, 1923) Özdikmen, 2008 but can be differentiated from them and those of all congeners by having a unique configuration of 16 dorsocephalic sensilla; an antennule terminal segment having 6 apical setae comprising tubercles 1 and 3, digitiform seta 4, 2 subequal setae of complex 5, and flagelliform seta 6; an antenna exopod with a thickened dorsal ridge, smooth (convex) outer surface with 2 short papillae, and rugose (concave) inner surface plus a terminal endopodal segment having a large dorsal hook, medial spine, bifid distal tubercle, and spinulose ventral process; a mandible having the formula P1, S1, P1, S1, P1, S1, B5; and a single pair of anterolateral spines on the mouth cone labium. Males attached to the posteroventral surface of the females' genital trunk were assigned to Neoalbionella by having tapered (not inflated) caudal rami directed posteroventrally. They were differentiated from previously reported congeneric males by having an antennule with the same number and configuration of apical setae as the female; an antenna with a spatulate exopod having minute spinules along its apex plus a terminal endopodal segment with components the same as the female; a mandible with formula P2, S1, P1, S1, B5; a labium with 1 pair of anterolateral spines like the female; and a conspicuous mediative process with bifid tip. Detail of the dorsocephalic shield (in females) and mouth cone labium (in both sexes) previously had not been used to diagnose Neoalbionella spp. We also dissected voucher specimens of “Neoalbionella longicaudata” (collected from gulper sharks in the western Pacific Ocean off Japan by Shiino in 1956), which we morphologically diagnosed as an innominate species, Neoalbionella sp. This is the first report of a species of Neoalbionella from the Gulf of Mexico and the second species of Neoalbionella reported from C. granulosus, a deepwater shark seldom encountered and surveyed for parasitology.

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