A revision of the genus Strongylodesma Lévi (Porifera: Demospongiae: Latrunculiidae) with descriptions of four new species

08 Sep 2011

The sponge genus Strongylodesma is reviewed and redefined, and now accommodates eight closely related species. The type species of Strongylodesma Le´vi is redescribed and an additional two new species are described from the Indo-Pacific: S. novaecaledoniae sp. nov. and S. tongaensis sp. nov. Several specimens previously identified as species of Batzella (Poecilosclerida: Chondropsidae) have been re-assigned to Strongylodesma, as the new species S. purpureus sp. nov. and S. nigra sp. nov. With the description here of new species from the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Atlantic, the biogeographical distribution of Strongylodesma now appears to be generally tropical with a subtropical South African component, whereas previously it was only known from South Africa. Although species of Strongylodesma have not previously been recorded from the intermediate locations (Western Indian Ocean, South-east Asia, central west Pacific, and New Zealand), re-evaluation here will facilitate more readily the recognition of taxa in these intermediate regions, if they exist, in the future. The species are not widespread, except perhaps along the south-east coast of South Africa, and where they occur they are not abundant. Species occur over a wide depth range, from the intertidal in Tsitsikamma, South Africa, to 140 m in the Caribbean.