Osedax mucofloris Glover, Kallstrom, Smith & Dahlgren, 2005
Live specimens are visible as four white to pink palps that emerge from the surface of the whale bone. The palps are 5-6 mm in length, and are surrounded at their base by a thin mucous tube. The oviduct is white, and extends to one-third of the length of the uncontracted palps. The palps are of equal length, measuring 0.8 mm when contracted, with numerous pinnules 0.1 mm in length. At the base of the pinnules there is a ciliary band that runs the entire length of each palp. The pinnules are 0.01 mm wide. They are densely packed and coloured white to pink in live specimens, with microvilli 0.05 mm in length. The trunk region is 6-8 mm in length and 0.5 mm wide, and is partially embedded within the bone matrix. The trunk is principally composed of bands of longitudinal muscles, galnds and major dorsal and ventral blood vessels. The mouth and gut are absent. There are ventral plaques on the collar (peristomial region) of the trunk.
On dissected specimens, an oviduct is visble running into an ovisac and the root structure, and contains numerous eggs in the trunk region. There is a vascularized root system of 2-10 mm in length, which burrows in a shallow depression to depths of 2-3 mm into the whale bone matrix in a bracnhed, mycelial form. Numerous eggs (greater than 100 in number) were relaesed from the ovisac on disturbance. The eggs ranged in diameter from 85-90 um. The chaetae and opisthosomal region were not observed. Epibiotic rod-shaped bacteria (length 1-1.5 um, width 300 nm) were present over the surface of the trunks, palps and pinnules, but absent from the roots.
(Glover et al. 2005)
Molecular analysis of Osedax mucofloris using COI and 18S rRNA sequences confirmed genetic seperation from morphologically similar O. rubiplumus and O. frankpressi (Glover et al., 2005).
Ecology and Distribution
Found on the bones of an experimentally implanted Minke whale carcass at 125 m depth, Kosterfjord, Sweden (58°53.1`N, 11°06.4` E) (Glover et al., 2005).
Osedax mucifloris appeared to be able to reproduce and grow to maturity within one month on defaunated bones placed in a aquaria (Glover et al., 2005).