a1 Marine and Coastal Management, Ecosystem Utilisation and Conservation, P/B X2, Roggebaai, 8012, South Africa
a2 Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Department, University of the Western Cape, PO Box X17, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa
a3 National Centre for Aquatic Biodiversity and Biosecurity, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited, Private Bag 109 695, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand
The sponge genus Strongylodesma is reviewed and redefined, and now accommodates eight closely related species. The type species of Strongylodesma Lévi 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.
(Received September 01 2008)
(Accepted October 22 2008)
(Online publication June 05 2009)
c1 Correspondance should be addressed to: T. Samaai, Marine and Coastal Management, Ecosystem Utilisation and Conservation, Private Bag X 2, Roggebaai 8012, Cape Town, South Africa email: [email protected]