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Mexican scientists discover new species of sea anemone
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mexico, Nov. 5 (Notimex).- Scientists from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS, for its acronym in Spanish) identified a new genus and species of sea anemone. This work is the result of Polet Yamaly Barragán Marín, who joined the master's program in marine and coastal sciences (Cimaco, for its acronym in Spanish) of the university institution, and had the support of scientists from the Research Program for the Conservation of the Reef Fauna, from the same university. The species was named Tenactis riosmenai, in homage to the Mexican marine botanist Rafael Riosmena Rodríguez (1966-2016). The first thing that was done was touring the marine area of ​​San Juan de la Costa, place within the Bay of La Paz. Experts dived into the rocky sites, rummaged through cracks and raised each rock in search of sea anemones because, unlike specimens from the Pacific Indo and the Caribbean, anemones in the Gulf of California are smaller in size. The collection of the sea anemone went through a complex process, due to the precise management required by the body, to prevent it from contracting its body, reported through its news agency the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT, for its acronym in Spanish). After separating the anemone from the marine substrate, to which it is attached in its natural state, to reduce the stress caused by this alteration, menthol crystals were applied, relaxing the polyps of the organism and facilitating its later handling, by means of the fixation with alcohol and/or formaldehyde. Thus, the sea anemone was prepared to undergo a histological examination. "They are like a little bag, with a hole in the top and small tentacles; the anatomy is very simple and if it contracts, it is very difficult to work with the organism. With the anemones we work the histological part, which is to make very thin cuts and analyze the internal part", exemplified Barragán Marín. Sea anemones are benthic animals that adhere to the marine substrate, such as sand, rocks and corals. They have a morphological simplicity since they are tissue-level organisms, they are differentiated by the type of cellular tissue; however, they have an ancient evolutionary history, in which their members have different life strategies. The specialists estimate that there are more than six thousand species of sea anemones. Normally, this group of organisms has six tentacles or multiples of six, but Tenactis riosmenai had 20, that is, multiples of five, so the scientists reported that it was a new species and new genus. Undoubtedly, the ecological success of sea anemones is facilitated by their propensity to establish symbiotic relationships with other animals, including hermit crabs, mollusks and fish. The study is part of the Research Program for the Conservation of the Reef Fauna of the UABCS, coordinated by Carlos Sánchez Ortiz. NTX/MSG/CYMA/JCG read more
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