The genus Polycarpa (Ascidiacea, Styelidae) on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of the Iberian Peninsula



The present work is a review of the 13 species of tunicates belonging to the genus Polycarpa, Heller, 1877 which are present in the Iberian Peninsula. Taxonomic, ecological, and distributional references are given for each species and descriptions of Polycarpa kornogi, P. violacea, P. pomaria, P. mamillaris, P. scuba, P. gracilis, and P. tenera are provided. The main diagnostic character between species of the fibrosa group lies in the shape of the polycarps. The distinction between P. pomaria and P. mamillaris is based on the number of sinuses on and between the branchial folds and the shape of the gonads. The morphology of the digestive tract and polycarps allows an easy distinction between P. tenera and P. graciiis. A tabular key for the identification of the iberian species is presented.