The current work presents new data on the pycnogonids collected during the ANTXXI/2 cruise on board of "Polarstern" R/V during December 2003 and January 2004 in the Eastern Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Twenty-eight samples were taken, with different trawls, from depths between 120 and 1,866 m. In total, 251 specimens of pycnogonids, belonging to 31 species, were collected. Five species were observed to increase their depth range while six were found for the first time in the Weddell Sea, exhibiting an expansion in their geographical distribution, and confirming the general trend toward the circumpolarity of this group (23 of 31 species were circumpolar). Pallenopsis kupei is new for Antarctic waters. The most abundant species were Colossendeis megalonyx and Nymphon australe. Current data were completed with the samples collected from the same region during Polarstern cruise ANTXIII/3 (EASIZ I) in February-March 1996. Bathymetric patterns of distribution were analyzed for the total of 1,564 specimens (82 species, 14 genera). The results showed a difference in the composition between the continental shelf (from 100 to 900 m depth) and the slope (below 900 m), where the genus Nymphon dominated. Depth seems to be an influential factor in the structure of pycnogonid assemblages. © Springer-Verlag 2009.
- Bathymetric distribution
- Eastern Weddell Sea