Ceratium balechii sp. nov. (Dinophyceae: Gonyaulacales) from the Mexican Pacific

Ma. Esther Meave del Castillo, Ma. Eugenia Zamudio Resendiz, Yuri B. Okolodkov, Isaías H. Salgado Ugarte


We propose a new species Ceratium balechii sp. nov., a bloom-producing dinoflagellate in the Mexican tropical Pacific, and often by mistake referred to as C. dens. In order to know its morphological variability, a morphometric study was perfomed, on the basis of 584 cells from 48 populations collected in 11 coastal localities of the Mexican tropical Pacific. Sixteen morphological characters (14 quantitative and 2 qualitative) were studied in each cell, and another 6 characters, relevant for establishing allometric relationships, were taken into account. To perform the statistical analysis, four different cell shapes were distinguished based on their appearance. A discriminant analysis distinguished two forms that were also correlated with water temperature and salinity. Two forms are proposed, C. balechii f. balechii and C. balechii f. longum. The latter occurred in water with temperature higher than 26ºC and salinity less than 32. The species is subjected to cyclomorphosis and intense synchronized autotomy in both antapical horns.
The new species is compared with other morphologically similar species and intraspecific taxa (C. dens, C. dens var. reflexa, C. tripos "var. benguela", C. tripos var. dalmaticum, C. tripos var. ponticum, C. californiense, C. ehrenbergii and C. porrectum). The presence of C. dens in the Mexican Pacific is heavily questioned.

Palabras clave

Dinophyceae; Ceratium; new species; morphometry; tropical Pacific

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