Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) viridiaurantia sp. nov. (Holothuriida, Holothuriidae), a new sea cucumber from the Eastern Pacific Ocean revealed by morphology and DNA barcoding

Zookeys. 2019 Dec 2:893:1-19. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.893.36013. eCollection 2019.


Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) viridiaurantiasp. nov. is described based on specimens from rocky reefs of northern Chocó in the Colombian Pacific Ocean; however, it also occurs along the Eastern Pacific Ocean from Mexico and Panama. Although specimens from Mexico and Panama were previously identified as Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) hilla Lesson, 1830 the new species is easily distinguished morphologically and via mtDNA. In terms of morphology, the species can be identified by its olive-green background and white-orange papillae and tentacles, larger tentacles with deep indentations and also by larger buttons on the dorsal and ventral body wall, papillae and tube feet; large, thick and rough tentacle rods, and the absence of ossicles in the longitudinal muscles. The new species is included in the subgenus Mertensiothuria considering molecular evidence.

Keywords: Echinodermata; Holothuroidea; 16S; COI; Cabo Marzo; Chocó; Colombia; Gulf of Cupica; Gulf of Tribugá; morros; mtDNA; riscales; rocky reefs.