Get access

Observations on torquaratorid acorn worms (Hemichordata, Enteropneusta) from the North Atlantic with descriptions of a new genus and three new species


Author for correspondence.



Enteropneusts in the family Torquaratoridae were imaged using still and video cameras in the deep North Atlantic and then collected by remotely operated vehicles. From this material, we describe Yoda purpurata n. gen, n. sp., Tergivelum cinnabarinum n. sp., and Allapasus isidis n. sp. Individuals of the first two species were browsing completely exposed on the sea floor, whereas the specimen of the last species was encountered floating ~1 m above the sea floor. Living specimens of Y. purpurata were 12–19 cm long and had a dark reddish-purple proboscis, collar, and genital wings (folded dorsally over the anterior region of the trunk). Members of this species were hermaphrodites (the first ever discovered in the phylum Hemichordata), with numerous separate testes and ovaries in the genital wings. Living specimens of T. cinnabarinum were 12–26 cm long and had a cinnabar-colored proboscis, collar, and back veils (arising from the anterior region of the trunk); sexes were separate, and body shape and internal morphology closely resemble those of its brown congener, T. baldwinae, from the eastern Pacific. The only specimen of A. isidis collected was a male 13 cm long and pale yellow when alive. Its body shape was proportionally shorter and broader than that of its orange congener, A. aurantiacus, from the eastern Pacific, but the internal anatomy of the two species is virtually identical. [Correction made after online publication August 21, 2012 to correct species name in preceding sentence.]