Original paper

Sponges from African inland waters: The genus Eunapius (Haplosclerida, Spongillina, Spongillidae)

Manconi, Renata; Murgia, Stefania; Pronzato, Roberto

Abstract

Biodiversity was assessed and a synthesis on sponges belonging to the genus Eunapius from African inland waters was performed, with detailed descriptions, geographic distribution, ecological notes and a diagnostic key. The gemmular trait "network of spongin fibers in the inner portion of the gemmular theca" discovered by the SEM analysis is here reported for the first time in four species of the genus. A comparative analysis was made, based on a critical revision of original descriptions, recent investigations on materials from historical collections, and recent samplings. Eight taxa are here reported, namely the widespread Eunapius carteri and E. fragilis, and the African endemics E. aetheriae, E. ambiguus, E. carteri saharensis, E. michaelseni, E. nitens and Eunapius sp. The genus Eunapius is, among Spongillidae, the most common and widespread in Africa in North Africa, Sahara and Sub-Sahara up to South Africa and Namibia. Habitats range from extremely isolated waters in deserts to swamps, perennial rivers and lakes in highlands and coastal areas.

Keywords

africafreshwaterporiferaeunapiusnew morpho-traittaxonomybiogeography