Monday 4 November 2013

Two new species of Bryozoans from the late Miocene of southern Turkey.

Bryozoans, or Moss Animals, are colonial filter-feeding invertebrates that form encrusting or weed-like colonies. The individual 'animals' are on average about 0.5 mm in length, and live inside a protective covering from which they extend a crown of cilia-covered tentacles called a lophophore. These are not true individuals though as they develop as buds on the colony and share nutrients; for this reason they are referred to as 'zooids'. The colonies produce sexually by means of reproductive zooids that have gonads, but lack feeding apparatus. Bryozoans are widespread globally, but are often overlooked because they are small and the colonies resemble plants.

In a paper published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica on 17 January 2012, Kamil Zágoršek of the Department of Paleontology at the National Museum in Prague and Dennis Gordon of the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research in Wellington, New Zealand describe two new species of Bryozoan from the late Miocene (between 8.35 to 7.81 million years old) of the Mut Basin of southern Anatolia, Turkey, described as part of a wider study of Bryozoans from these deposits.

The first new species is named Basyaylella elsae, where 'Basyaylella' refers to the Başyayla Section, from which the specimens were obtained and 'elsae' honours Elsa Gliozzi of Roma Tre University, an expert on the Başyayla Section who discovered the specimens from which the species is described. Basyaylella elsae is described from 35 fossil colonies. It formed erect, branching colonies with a circular cross-section.

Colonies of Basyaylella elsae. Scale bars are 1 mm (A-G) and 100 μm (H-I). Zágoršek & Gordon (2012).

The second new species is named Ostrovskia triforamina, where 'Ostrovskia' honours Andrei  Ostrovsky of the University of Vienna, an expert on Bryozoans, and 'triforamina' refers to the structure of the zooecia in which the individual zooids live. Ostrovskia triforamina formed erect, rigid colonies with an oval section.

Colonies of Ostrovskia triforaminaScale bars are 1 mm (A) and 100 μm (B-D). Zágoršek & Gordon (2012).

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