Suberites inti, sponge named after Inca sun god discovered in Peruvian seas News

An investigation by a group of Peruvian and foreign scientists managed to identify 81 sponge specimens belonging to eight different species in the Peruvian sea. They all belong to the order Suberitida. One of these species had never been seen before. The discovered species has been named by the researchers as Suberites inti, in homage to the Inca sun god.

It is a species of the genus suberites Due to the features present in the skeleton, it is not similar to any other species of sponge seen before. There is no species like it in the world, so it is a new species for science. we decided to call him subrights int Because its color is like the sunwith a mix between yellow and orange”, description Dr. Baslavy KondorTeam leader of scientists and researcher at the Universidad Scientifica del Sur.

For the researchers, this discovery represents a New achievement of Peruvian science. “This new species is showing us that there is still much to study. This sponge was found in the Paracas, specifically on the island of San Galan, where we also found other extant species. There is much more to be discovered in our seas.” is, especially with regard to small specimens”, says the expert, who was also part of the team of researchers of the XXIX Peruvian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica – ANTAR XXIX.

The study was carried out from 2019 to 2022 and analyzed species collected during three projects: Sponges from Peru (ESPER), Esponjas da América do Sul (Esponjas) and Semilla UCSUR 2019 (Demospongiae).

Collection projects took place along the Peruvian sea coast and include The species is found up to 30 meters deep. In addition to the colors that give it its name, the new species is characterized by a smooth, velvety surface and a compressed consistency.

with 2 x 6cm Small Sizeyes, it’s a new species subrights int It is found attached to rocky substrates and associated with ophiuroids, crabs, bryozoans and red algae.

The research was published in April of this year in the scientific journal Zootaxa, which specializes in research in the field of zoological taxonomy.

As is known, the applied study of sponges is important for finding new treatment options, as they produce substances with anticarcinogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral potential.

Other species of sponges in the Peruvian sea

After sample collection, scientists applied Techniques of Morphological Analysis for Species Identification Depending on the size of the body and its skeleton. Thus, eight species of sponges were identified: Halichondria (H.) cristata, H. (H.) prostrata, Hymenasiadon perlevis, Johannesia reticulosa, Plictelopsis expansa, Suberites f. Latus, Terpios cf. granulosus and Suberites inti (new species). “Halichondria (H.) cristata is a species native to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and we have managed to find along the coast of Peru.

The species (H.) prostrata and Plictelopsis expansa have been found to have a concordance extending from Chile to central Peru. Hymeniacidon perlevis is reported for the first time for the Southeast Pacific, as it is not characteristic of the region. Johannesia reticulosa, which is typical of Chile and southern Peru, is found further north.

Finally, we found Suberites aff. Lettuce and T.C.F. granulosus, specific species of British Columbia and Hawaii respectively”, marine biologists detail about the native origin of the species found. As these are species that are not native to the area, experts point out that they have invasive potential Giving is important.

“Special caution should be exercised, especially in the case of Hymeniacidon perlewis, which has a distant origin (England) and its appearance in Peru is unexpected. It is necessary that molecular studies on this species are carried out in the future”, South America and the Caribbean From warned the expert in the study of sea sponges.

What role do sponges play in our ecosystem?

Although their existence and belonging to marine realms is known, the concept of sponges is not well known outside the scientific world. “The sponge They are quite simple creatures in their structure. They are made of spicules on their skeleton. They have cells that do not form true tissues and their basic activities (feeding, reproduction, respiration) occur through an aquiferous system which is a system of internal channels. In general, they are characterized by their high filtration efficiency”, details the expert, who was also nominated for the National Prize “For Women in Science” in 2021.

the importance of Sponges lie in their role of recycling nutrients. do a process called “sponge damper loop o Sponge loop, in which nutrients are recycled through cells on the surface. They filter the nutrients that are in the water column, obtain them and incorporate them into their most superficial cells. These cells undergo turnover, explains Condor, as well as our cells of the epidermis every time they shower.

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“In the case of sponges, their cells are discarded at the bottom because they are substrate-attached benthic organisms (they live on the bottom of the ocean). There, they release their dead cells that serve as food for organisms. They eat detritus (dead matter) such as crabs and worms. These are then eaten by other animals and are, in turn, eaten by other organisms that live in the water column, thereby recycling nutrients. This is the most important function at the ecosystem level that sponges have”, he explains.

in addition Sponges play an important role for science In the field of biotechnology because of the components they secrete as a defense mechanism.

“Sponges produce secondary metabolites that can be used in the biotechnology industry. They have been found to have anticarcinogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral potential. It should be recognized that sponges are sessile organisms (they do not move) and are linked, therefore the only way to defend them is through the release of chemical substances that may be the answer to human medicine to treat certain diseases. Also called professor.

Finally, the sponge’s own spicules made of silica can be used Fabrication of transmission structures such as fiber optics. “Their use as nanomaterials is possible because they are structurally simple organisms”, he elaborated.

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Why is it important to identify marine species?

Although the investigation is revealing important information, scientists recognize that this is only the first part of everything that needs to be investigated. “In form of taxonomy (species identification) There is a long way to go in identifying the new species. Regarding ecology, it is important to analyze whether this newly introduced species does not have an impact on the Peruvian ecosystem”, says Dr. Baslavy Condor.

With regard to future studies related to species identification, experts point out that more specific studies are needed. “Many species have a wide distribution in the world: they are found in the Pacific Ocean, in the Atlantic, in the Indian Ocean. These are species that are morphologically similar to each other, but genetically different, that is why That needs to be studied at the molecular level”, he added.

“These results will definitely help us understand the marine ecosystem and the biodiversity we have. At the ecological level, the interactions of sponges with other organisms should also be studied to understand how their relationships work.” There is still a long way to go before we start these investigations”, he concluded.

Also participating in the research were Alvaro Arteaga, Christian Polo and Yesenia Arroyo from the Scientific University of the South, Philippe Willenz from the Marine Biology Laboratory of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Belgium); and Eduardo Hajdu, from the Department of Invertebrates of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Posted: 5/15/2023

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