| Author||J. van der Land|
|Title||Priapulus from the deep sea (Vermes, Priapulida)|
The species of the genus Priapulus occur in rather cold water. Hence, their shallow-water distribution is restricted to northern and southern waters (fig. 1); there are only a few isolated records from sub-tropical localities.
However, in deep water the genus apparently has a world-wide distribution (fig. 2). The northern species (P. caudatus De Lamarck) and the southern species (P. tuberculatospinosus Baird) from shallow water are well defined but the specimens from the deep sea present systematical problems. In my survey of the Priapulida (Van der Land, 1970) I could not answer the question of their identity, because I had seen only very few specimens from deep water and not a single one from the tropical deep sea.
Meanwhile I could study the material collected during cruises of the Russian R.V. "Vitjaz" (10 specimens), the Danish R.V. "Galathea" (2 specimens), and the American R.V. "Vema" (1 specimen) and R.V. "Eltanin" (2 specimens), i.e., 15 of the 20 specimens known from abyssal and hadal depths. The results are given in the present paper, which should be considered an addendum to my earlier paper.
Priapulids have not been obtained from the deep sea very often. Probably this is not due to their rarity but to their digging habits and their usually low population densities (they are predacious animals). Below are listed all specimens, to my knowledge, that have been taken from depths greater than 2000 m. Each specimen is given a number for easy reference. The specimens not seen by the author are indicated with an asterisk.
The three type specimens of Priapulus profundus (no. 1-3) could not be
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