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Hard and Soft Anatomy in Two Genera of Dondersiidae (Mollusca, Aplacophora, Solenogastres)

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Scheltema, Amelie H.
Schander, Christoffer
Kocot, Kevin M.


Phylogenetic relationships and identifications in the aplacophoran taxon Solenogastres (Neomeniomorpha) are in flux largely because descriptions of hard parts–– sclerites, radulae, copulatory spicules––and body shape have often not been adequately illustrated or utilized. With easily recognizable and accessible hard parts, descriptions of Solenogastres are of greater use, not just to solenogaster taxonomists, but also to ecologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists. Phylogenetic studies of Aplacophora, Mollusca, and the Lophotrochozoa as a whole, whether morphological or molecular, would be enhanced. As an example, morphologic characters, both isolated hard parts and internal anatomy, are provided for two genera in the Dondersiidae. Five species are described or redescribed and earlier descriptions corrected and enhanced. Three belong to Dondersia: D. festiva Hubrecht, D. incali (Scheltema), and D. namibiensis n. sp., the latter differentiated unambiguously from D. incali only by sclerites and copulatory spicules. Two species belong to Lyratoherpia: L. carinata Salvini-Plawen and L. californica (Heath). Notes are given for other species in Dondersiidae: L. bracteata Salvini-Plawen, Ichthyomenia ichthyodes (Pruvot), and Heathia porosa (Heath). D. indica Stork is synonymized with D. annulata. A cladistic morphological analysis was conducted to examine the utility of hard parts for reconstructing solenogaster phylogeny. Results indicate monophyly of Dondersia and Lyratoherpia as described here