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“Ainigmaptilon edisto, n. sp.
Diagnosis.—Colony unbranched; proximal end of stem furnished with a funnel-shaped expansion; axis heavily calcified, round, irregularly grooved longitudinally, light yellowish with pearly iridescence. Polyps borne on broad, bifid polyp-leaves which are opposite on the stem, in two lateral rows; opercular scales oval, with a very long, slender, smooth distal spine; no differentiated marginal (circumopercular) scales; body scales irregular, elongate, arranged longitudinally but not in eight rows. Coenenchyma of polyp leaves and stern densely packed with elongate, irregular scales.
Description.—The type (Fig. 1), a unique specimen, is broken; it consists of the base and lower part of a colony, 200 mm in length, together with 80 mm of naked axis (lacking the distal tip), and the apical 15 mm of the colony (lacking the axis); the entire colony must therefore have measured something over 295 mm in length. The polyp-leaves, which begin about 105 mm from the base, are opposite, in two series which incline a little toward one side of the axis. The leaves of the four proximal pairs are indistinctly bifid, and the polyps are placed along their free margins in a single row. The leaves of the more distally placed pairs are clearly bilobed (Fig. 2,f), with the polyps arranged along their free margins in two more or less distinct rows, usually numbering ±15 on each lobe. On the leaves in the distal third of the colony, extra polyps are intercalated between the two marginal rows, increasing in abundance on the more distally situated leaves until, in the terminal 15 mm, all the leaves have three rows and sometimes the beginning of a fourth. The polyps themselves (Fig. 2, e) are 2.5 to 3.0 mm tall from base to tip of opercular scales. The opercular spicules are well differentiated, elongate oval scales with irregularly dentate margins, sculptured with small warts, and furnished with an extremely long, smooth distal spine (Fig. 2, a). The body scales are irregular, elongate, finely warted but with a border practically devoid of sculpture (Fig. 2, b) ; they are arranged longitudinally, not in eight rows, closely and irregularly packed. Sclerites of similar form are found thickly set in the walls of the polyp-leaves (Fig. 2, c) and in the stern rind (Fig. 2, d) . The color of the colony is cream white.
Type.—U. S. N. M. no. 49580.
Locality.—Lat. 65° 25' S., long. 101° 13' E., 100 fathoms; water temperature (surface) 30° F.; January 14, 1948, collected by Cmdr. D. C. Nutt, U. S. N. R., abroad the U. S. S. Edisto.
KEY TO THE KNOWN SPECIES OF Ainigmaptilon
1. Polyp-leaves simple.
Ainigmaptilon virtpdaroides (Molander)
Polyp-leaves subdivided or branched. .... .. 2
2. Opercular scales with prominent apical spine 3
Opercular scales more or less acutely pointed but without a long projecting spine
3. Opercular scales strongly sculptured with thorns; apical spine stout, prominently thorny…….. Ainigmaptilon haswelli Dean
Opercular scales sculptured with small warts; apical spine very long, slender and smooth.
Ainigmaptitort edisto, n. sp.
4. Opercular scales more or less regular isosceles triangles; stern rind and all surfaces of polyp-leaves filled with sclerites.
Ainigmaptilon waldini Carlgren
Opercular scales oval-triangular, with bluntly pointed apex; polyp-leaves with spicules only around base and on under surface; stem rind with very few spicules.
Ainigmaptilon antarcticum. (Molander)”