Turbellarian taxonomic database

Wulguru cuspidata Notes

Winsor L 1990 (citation)- Key to "free-living" marine turbellaria of north Queensland, Australia.  Also, new
species and taxonomic revisons.  Key to free-living acoels for Australia.  Species and taxa include:
     Waminoa litus
     Convolutriloba Henelberg and Akesson 1988
     Convolutriloba hastifera
     Convolutriloba japonica (Kato 1951)
     Convolutriloba cf. retrogemma
     Amphiscolops australis
     Wulguru cuspidata 
     Heterochaerus sargassi (Hyman 1939)
     Heterochaerus australis Haswell 1905

Hooge MD 2003 (citation) - The sediment from which this species was collected contained extraordinary numbers of
Wulguru cuspidata as well as another acoel, Stomatricha hochbergi sp. nov.  In sediment samples left to sit
for a couple of days at room temperature, numerous specimens could be found on the sediment surface and in the
water covering the sediment.
Winsor (1988) described yolk-producing cells associated with the eggs of W. cuspidata; however, I found that
the yolk cells were actually lobate extensions of the eggs.  The abundant yolk-containing lobes lacked nuclei
and surrounded the central mass of each individual egg.  These lobes were absent in eggs that had developed a
shell.  Winsor (1988) used the “yolk-producing cells” as a diagnostic character for the genus Wulguru
(distinguishing it from the genus Amphiscolops).  The dissolution of this character may prefigure the transfer
of W. cuspidata into Amphiscolops. 
The 10 valid species in the genus Amphiscolops (see Tyler & Bush 2002) are heterogeneous for a number of
characters (see Winsor 1990 for review), including the presence of symbiotic algae, a statocyst, or eyes, and
the number of bursal nozzles.  Most species in the genus have a characteristic bilobed tail, but this is
absent in W. cuspidata (also absent in A. cinereus, A. fulgineus, and A. zeii).  Four species of Amphiscolops
have only one pair of bursal nozzles, and in all cases the nozzles are directed rostrally, unlike the caudally
directed nozzles of W. cuspidata.  Additionally, W. cuspidata is unique in having a false female gonopore. 
However, one species, A. japonicus, has a single female gonopore that leads to a forked vagina, in which the
posterior branch is a blind sac, perhaps similar to the dead-end canal leading from the false female gonopore
of W. cuspidata.  Winsor (1990) has shown that a much-needed taxonomic revision of the genus Amphiscolops is
hindered by the lack of morphological information for some species.  Until such a revision is undertaken, I
prefer to leave the genus Wulguru in place with the diagnostic character being the presence of three medially
positioned gonopores (female gonopore, false female gonopore, and male gonopore).

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