Hiding in plain sight—Euplokamis dunlapae (Ctenophora) in Norwegian waters
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Plankton Research. 2021, 43 (2), 257-269. 10.1093/plankt/fbab012
Cydippid ctenophores of genus Euplokamis have been rarely reported from the north-east Atlantic in the scientific literature. The conspicuous lack of previous records is likely attributable to methodological constraints detrimental to sampling ctenophores, including the use of plankton nets and preservation of samples as well as poor identification literature and a lack of taxonomic expertise on gelatinous zooplankton. Here, we have compiled published and novel records as well as documented diver observations, of Euplokamis spp. in Norwegian waters. Despite scant earlier reports, our data suggest that the genus Euplokamis is widely distributed and relatively common along the entire Norwegian coast, including Svalbard. Euplokamis was recorded from samples taken from several hundred meters depth to surface, from fjords as well as offshore. Most of the observations reported in this study are from the period between April and July, whereas specimens have been found nearly throughout the year. Specimens from Norwegian waters were morphologically most similar to Euplokamis dunlapae, and conservative 18S rDNA sequences of some specimens had a 100% match with an E. dunlapae specimen from Friday Harbor, USA, the type locality for the species. However, the morphological and molecular variation of Euplokamis demonstrates the need for systematic global sampling of multiple individuals of many ctenophore species.