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Contribution to the knowledge of the family Otoplanidae Hallez, 1892 (Rhabditophora, Proseriata) in the Mediterranean

Abstract

A growing awareness is rising that present perception of marine biodiversity is inadequate, and based upon unrepresentative data. The inadequacy of knowledge on taxonomy and distribution of marine organisms is particularly acute for interstitial meiofauna, especially for "soft bodied" taxa, which necessitate of observations on both living and fixed specimens. Among these groups, information on Platyhelminthes, a species-rich, ubiquitous and diverse taxon, is at present far from adequate, and is entirely absent for entire biogeographical regions. In this scenario, my research aimed to gather data in the composition and distribution of a family of Platyhelminthes Proseriata, the Otoplanidae Hallez, 1892, in biogeographically significant sectors along the coasts of Mediterranean. The most striking results of a series of sampling campaigns is the great number of new Otoplanidae species found. In this work fifteen new species, belonging to the genus Parotoplana Meixner, 1938 are formally described: P. pythagorae Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. spathifera Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. terpsichore Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. jondelii Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. cucullata Delogu et al., 2008; P. fretigaditani Delogu et al., 2008; P. varispinosa Delogu et al., 2008; P. mastigophora Delogu et al., 2008; P. geminispina sp. n., P. crassispina sp. n., P. carthagoensis sp. n., P. ichnusae sp. n., P. pulchrispina sp. n., P. obtusispina sp. n. and P. axii sp. n

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