Mesophyllum sphaericum sp. nov. (Corallinales, Rhodophyta): a new maërl-forming species from the northeast Atlantic
Complete registryShow full item record
Mesophyllum sphaericum sp. nov. is described based on spherical mae¨rl individuals (up to 10 cm) collected in a shallow subtidal mae¨rl bed in Galicia (NW Spain). The thalli of these specimens are radially organized, composed of arching tiers of compact medullary filaments. Epithallial cells have flattened to rounded outermost walls, and they occur in a single layer. Subepithallial initials are as long as, or longer than the daughter cells that subtend them. Cell fusions are abundant. Multiporate asexual conceptacles are protruding, mound-like with a flattened pore plate, lacking a peripheral raised rim. Filaments lining the pore canal and the conceptacle roof are composed of five to six cells with straight elongate and narrow cells at their base. Carposporangial conceptacles are uniporate, protruding, and conical. Spermatangial conceptacles were not observed. Molecular results placed M. sphaericum near to M. erubescens, but M. sphaericum is anatomically close to M. canariense. The examination of the holotype and herbarium specimens of M. canariense indicated that both species have pore canal filaments with elongate basal cells, but they differ in number of cells (five to six in M. sphaericum vs. four in M. canariense). Based on the character of pore canal filaments, M. canariense shows similarities with M. erubescens (three to five celled). The outermost walls of epithallial cells of M. canariense are flared compared to the round to flattened ones of M. erubescens, the latter being widely accepted for the genus Mesophyllum. The addition of M. sphaericum as new mae¨rl-forming species suggests that European mae¨rl beds are more biodiverse than previously understood.