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Northern Range Extension for the DeepSea

Shrimps Acanthephyra Eximia, A. Acutifrons
and Ephyrina Figueirai (Decapoda...

Article in Crustaceana May 1992

DOI: 10.1163/156854092X00136


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Gerhard Pohle
Huntsman Marine Science Centre


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Huntsman Marine Science Centre, Atlantic Reference Centre, St. Andrews, New Brunswick,
EOG 2XO, Canada

Des extensions de distribution vers le nord, dans les eaux atlantiques canadiennes, sont
signale pour trois espces de crevettes oplophorides: Acanthephyraeximia,A. acutifronset Ephyrina
figueirai ont f trouves dans les eaux du talus continental, entre 683 et 2432 m. A l'exception
d'un spcimen d'E. figueirai du dtroit de Davis, le transport des autres spcimens a pu tre
effectu par le Gulf Stream partir de zones mridionales. Que ces espces soient des gars
expatris au Canada est incertain, en raison de l'insuffisance de l'chatillonnage au-dessous de
1000 mtres.


A recent taxonomic review of Canadian Atlantic decapod Crustacea

included a list of seven extralimital species consisting of six shrimps and one
polychelid (Squires, 1990). The list was largely based on records of specimens
housed at the Atlantic Reference Centre, including the three oplophorid
species from continental slope waters for which detailed records are reported

Acanthephyra eximia Smith, 1884 (fig. 1A)

Specimens of Acanthephyra eximia Smith, 1884 were obtained from previously

unrecorded Atlantic latitudes on separate research cruises with the following
date, location and depth data:
"Anton Dohrn" 6344: 26 October 1979, 3950'N 7055'W; 1030 m.
"Oceanus" 183: 15 March 1987, 3921'N 7056'W; 2432 m.
"Alfred Needler" 92: 22 October 1987, 4433' N 5635' W; 683 m, 4.6C bottom

Acanthephyra eximia is a widely distributed species, known throughout most

of the temperate and tropical areas of the Indopacific except for the west coast
of the Americas (Crosnier & Forest, 1973). It has also been found in tropical

and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, with most occurrences near or south of
Bermuda (32N) (Chace, 1940, 1947). The northwestern Atlantic latitudinal
limit was regarded as 35N, based on records from near Cape Hatteras
(Smith, 1884), with northeastern limits in the Bay of Biscay (Crosnier & Forest,
1973). The most northern record reported herein represents a northern range
extension of 9 degrees latitude and is the first known occurrence of the species
in the Canadian Atlantic. Each specimen from the A. Dohrn and A. Needler
cruises is an ovigerous female with carapace lengths (CL) of 36.1 and
37.3 mm, respectively, whereas the two specimens from the Oceanus cruise are
juvenile females (CL = 13.7, 13.9 mm). The species is regarded as bottom
dwelling (Crosnier & Forest, 1973), occurring in depths varying from 200 to
more than 4700 m at temperatures from 2.8 to 8.6C (Wenner & Boesch, 1979;
Chace, 1986). However, juveniles have occasionally been found in midwater
(Chace, 1986). Specimens in this study have all been collected with various
types of bottom sampling otter trawls.

Acanthephyra acutifrons Bate, 1888 (fig. 1 B)

"Alfred Needler" 057: 19 February 1986, 4027'N 6202'W; ,1000 m; ,5C; IGYPT
midwater trawl.
This species has been reported from the Indian Ocean and Indonesia
(Chace, 1940), and is known in the Atlantic from tropical and subtropical
waters (Chace, 1986). Records in the Atlantic have extended north to the
Bahamas (Chace, 1947). The specimen reported herein represents a con-
siderable northern range extension of about 14 degrees latitude.
Adults and juveniles of A. acutifrons are considered to be mesopelagic at least
part of the time (Chace, 1986), with juveniles more likely to be encountered
in midwater than deepbodied adults (Chace, 1940). Adults reach up to 55 mm
CL (Chace, 1986). The specimen reported here is a juvenile male (CL = 12.5
mm), caught well off the bottom, which was charted at over 4000 m where
sampling took place.

Ephyrina figueirai Crosnier & Forest, 1973 (fig. 1C)

"Gadus Atlantica" 129: 20 August 1986; 6246'N 5906'W; 976 m; 3.6C bottom
temperature; Engel trawl.
"Lady Hammond" 127: 3 November 1984; 43 12' N 6031' W; 900 m; IGYPT midwater
As a result of an analysis of the genus by Crosnier & Forest (1973), Ephyrina
figueirai and E. ombago emerged as two new species previously included with E.
hoskynii Wood-Mason & Alcock, 1891. The latter is no longer considered to be
present in the Atlantic. In the Atlantic Ephyrina ombago is found in the tropical
eastern and western regions (Chace, 1986). In contrast, Ephyrina figueirai is

Fig. 1. A, AcanthephyraexirniaSmith, 1884 (3950' N 7055' W); B, AcanthephyraacutifronsBate,

1888 (4027' N 6202' W); C, E?r?a?M?a! Crosnier & Forest, 1973 (6246' N 5906' W).
Arrows indicate diagnostic features.

known as far north as Ireland (51 22' N) in the eastern Atlantic (Crosnier &
Forest, 1973) but until now it has not been reported at these latitudes in the
western Atlantic. Present records are the first from Canadian Atlantic waters.
The species is otherwise known from subtropical/tropical areas of the

Indopacific (Chace, 1986). Even though these shrimps are considered to be

mesopelagic (Chace, 1986), the present catches with bottom and midwater
trawls indicate that E. figueirai may occur in either environment at least part
of the time.
The collected specimens consist of an adult male (CL = 25.1 I mm) and
female (25.7 mm). In the tropics, recorded bottom temperatures associated
with catches of this species varied from 8.1 to 10.3C in 497-1682 m depth
(Chace, 1986), respectively. This is over twice the temperature recorded here
from Davis Strait. However, it is likely that the temperature at maximum
known depth of over 2100 m (Crosnier & Forest, 1973) in the northeastern
Atlantic is closer to the 3.6C reported in the present study.
A recent faunal survey of the continental slope off Nova Scotia covering
depth strata ranging from 400-1200 m did not reveal any of the above species
(Markle et al., 1988). The poor representation of these species amongst the
extensive collection of deep water shrimps at the Atlantic Reference Centre,
obtained from numerous sampling cruises in Canadian slope waters, also
implies that these three taxa are relatively rare in northern latitudes. In con-
trast, trawl surveys in slope waters of the Middle Atlantic Bight off the eastern
U.S.A. (36-37N) showed A. eximia to be present at 13 stations in depths of
1407-2679 m (Wenner & Boesch, 1979). This suggests that the specimens of
the current study were carried beyond their normal range, and are therefore
not part of a resident self-sustaining population within Canadian Atlantic
waters. However, sampling in Canadian Atlantic slope waters below 1000 m
has not been adequate to date and bottom temperatures in that area are proba-
bly not significantly different from those waters where A. eximia (2.8-3.9C) is
found off the eastern U.S.A. (Wenner & Boesch, 1979).
Correlating geographic localities of the reported specimens with predomi-
nant current patterns reveals that most of these shrimps could be carried north-
easterly beyond their normal range by the Gulf Stream, or by warm water
eddies or rings which separate from a Gulf Stream meander. The direct
association of warm water oceanic species with warm core rings in temperate
waters has been demonstrated (Cox & Wiebe, 1979) and geographical displace-
ment of primarily subtropical taxa into Canadian Atlantic waters has been
shown for thirty-three species of ichthyoplankton distributed among 25
families (Markle et al., 1980). Records of adult warm water fishes in Canadian
waters have also been documented (Scott & Scott, 1988). Among Crustacea,
specimens of the warm water palaemonid shrimp Leander tenuicornis (Say, 1818)
found near Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy are also thought to have been
transported north by the Gulf Stream (Wigley, 1970), and then westerly prob-
ably by a separating gyre.
Unlike those in the present study, the above records are not from deeper
waters. However, current measurements (Swallow & Worthington, 1957;
Neumann, 1956) and temperature profiles (Neumann & Pierson, 1966)

indicate that the bathymetric range of the Gulf Stream extends to 1500 to 2000
m in northern waters beyond the continental shelf. Water temperatures at
these depths are below 10C (Wicbe, 1982) and thus within the expected
tolerance range of these oplophorid shrimps. Transport of deep water
specimens of this study by the current of the Gulf Stream is therefore possible.
It is only at greater depths, inshore of the 4000 m isobath, that deep circulation
moves water southwestward as part of the Western Boundary Undercurrent
(Hogg, 1983). This would not permit northerly transport of the shrimps but
none of the present records were from such depths.
In contrast to Acanthephyra eximia and A. acutifrons, Ephyrina figueirai may not
be a southern stray into Canadian waters since the most northern record is
from subarctic waters of Davis Strait, in an area well beyond the reaches of
the Gulf Stream where a cold southerly flow from the Labrador Current
predominates (Dunbar, 1951). The specimen could be a transatlantic stray
carried over from the eastern Atlantic by North Atlantic Drift and into the
Davis Strait via the West Greenland Current. In the castern Atlantic E.
figueirai has been reported as far north as 51 22' latitude. However, this means
of transport is available only to eurythermal forms (Scheltema, 1968), and this
is at present not known to be the case for E. figueirai.

CHACE, F. A., Jr., 1940. Plankton of the Bermuda Oceanographic Expeditions. IX. The
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collection. Bull. Bingham Oceanogr. Coll., 11: 1-51, figs. 1-15.
-, 1986. The caridean shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda) of the Albatross Philippine expedi-
tion, 1907-1910, Part 4: Families Oplophoridae and Nematocarcinidae. Smithsonian Con-
trib. Zool., 432: 1-82.
Cox, J. & P. H. WIEBE, 1979. Origins of oceanic plankton in the Middle Atlantic Bight.
Estuarine coastal mar. Sci., 9: 509-527.
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causes. Deep-sea Res., 30: 945-961.
MARKLE,D. F., M. J. DADSWELL &R. G. HALLIDAY, 1988. Demersal fish and decapod crusta-
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and the influence of hydrography on resident and nonresident Scotian Shelf ichthyofauna.
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