2013 Volume 8 Issue 3 Pages 107-115
Zooplankton samples from the deep water of the Sea of Japan often contain yellowish semitransparent spheres (1.0–1.5 mm in diameter). We recognized these spheres as a single phaeodarian species (Cercozoa, Rhizaria) and described them as Aulographis japonica sp. nov. (family Aulacanthidae) in this paper. This species has a high abundance in the Japan Sea Proper Water (JSPW) and occasionally higher biomass than that of copepods. Molecular analysis based on 18S SSU rDNA revealed that Aulacantha scolymantha, which belongs to the same family as A. japonica, is closer to Aulosphaera trigonopa and Protocystis spp., which belong to different orders, than to the present species. The distribution of A. japonica is apparently restricted to low temperature water. Its biomass was the highest in the uppermost layer of JSPW, and this phaeodarian species was the second most important zooplankton below 250 m depth in terms of biomass among the total zooplankton groups. This is probably due to its generalist type of feeding. Considering its large biomass, A. japonica possibly plays an important role in matter cycles within the Sea of Japan.