Polyplacophora (Mollusca) from reef ecosystems and associations with macroalgae on the Coast of Alagoas, Northeastern Brazil


Zoologia (Curitiba)




ABSTRACT Brazilian marine molluscs, especially Gastropoda and Bivalvia, are relatively well studied. However, information on the class Polyplacophora is more scarce, particularly on reef-dwelling forms. This study aimed to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze aspects of polyplacophorans from reef ecosystems and their associations with macroalgae on the coast of Maceió (state of Alagoas, Brazilian Northeast). The study area included five coral reefs at Ipioca, Ponta do Prego, Ponta do Meirim, Riacho Doce and Ponta Verde, as well as two sandstone reefs, located in Guaxuma and Sereia. The samples were obtained by snorkelling along the intertidal and subtidal reef zones to a depth of up to five meters during low tides, between 2009 and 2011. In addition, the chitons associated with three macroalgae of the Ponta Verde coral reef were studied based on collections made over 12 years (from the summer of 1998 to the winter of 2009). Three replicates with an area of 25 cm2 were collected from each of the following species of macroalgal phytals: Amphiroa fragilissima (Rhodophyta), Caulerpa racemosa (Chlorophyta) and Dictyota cervicornis (Phaeophyta). A total of 715 individuals (110 juveniles and 605 adults) were identified, including Acanthochitona terezae Guerra, 1983, Ischnochiton striolatus (Gray, 1828) and Ischnoplax pectinata (Sowerby II, 1840). Acanthochitona terezae was found for the first time in the area. Ischnochiton striolatus was the most abundant species in the reef ecosystem and in association with macroalgae. The greatest number of individuals of all three polyplacophorans identified (adults and juveniles) was found on the phytal A. fragilissima.

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