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Mary Antonio Donatello TODARO

Professore Associato
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sede ex-Biologia


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Pubblicazioni

2023 - Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Applied to a New Species Helps Understand the Functioning of the Reproductive Apparatus in Stylet-Bearing Urodasys (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Cesaretti, Agata; Leasi, Francesca; Todaro, M. Antonio
abstract

Gastrotrichs are highly diverse and abundant in all aquatic ecosystems; however, they are often overlooked. During a biodiversity survey in Sardinia (Italy), a new species of gastrotrich herein described was discovered. Specimens of Urodasys bifidostylis sp. nov. were found in sandy sediments from two submarine caves. Using an integrative approach of traditional light (DIC) and high-resolution (CLSM) microscopies, we herein reveal, for the first time, the fine structure and function of the reproductive organ in an Urodasys representative. This is particularly relevant considering the complex reproductive organs and strategies of this group. Results allow comparisons between the reproductive apparatus and sperm transfer modalities in Urodasys and the closely related genus Macrodasys. One similarity is that both groups transfer male gametes in packets, suggesting the production of spermatophores to be a common phenomenon in Gastrotricha. Unique to Urodasys is the ability of multiple and consecutive copulations and sperm transfers and, differently than Macrodasys, the transfer of sperms unlikely occurs simultaneously between the two hermaphroditic partners. These findings provide new insights into the reproductive strategies of Urodasys and are expected to advance future studies on the evolution of reproductive strategies and the rise of interspecific reproductive barriers in interstitial meiofauna.


2023 - Looking for Nano- and Microplastics in Meiofauna Using Advanced Methodologies [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. A.; Anselmi, Serena; Bentivoglio, Tecla; Pretti, Carlo; Cavallo, Andrea; Renzi, Monia
abstract

: Meiofauna (body size within 30–1000 µm) are the community of microscopic invertebrates that live at the bottom of marine and freshwater ecosystems and play a key role in the food webs of these environments. Several studies have addressed the adverse effects of anthropic stressors on meiofauna; however, data on the presence and impact of plastic debris in wild meiofaunal organisms are scant. Since the amount of microplastic waste in sediments may surge rapidly, ascertaining the ingestion of these xenobiotics by the abundant micrometazoan community is necessary to understand their potential accumulation in aquatic food webs and their hazard to the health of the ecosystem. The absence of documentation in this regard may be due to the difficulty in detecting the small size of the plastic fragments meiofauna may potentially ingest. To overcome this difficulty, we developed an integrated approach based on different microscopic/spectroscopic techniques suitable for detecting plastic particles of sizes down to 200 nm.


2022 - New Data on Reproductive System and Spermatozoa Confirm Macrodasys as a Model in Comparative Reproductive Analysis in Macrodasyida (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Balsamo, M.; Grassi, L.; Semprucci, F.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

Gastrotricha Macrodasyida, aquatic worms, are primarily hermaphrodites with internal cross-fertilization and indirect sperm transfer. Insightful information on this matter dates to 1978 and derives from an illuminating work focused on two Macrodasys species. The role as a “model” of this taxon clashes, however, with the relative paucity of data concerning the ultrastructure of the accessory organs involved in the sperm transfer. Therefore, we have undertaken a new study on three additional species of Macrodasys focusing on the frontal and caudal organs and also on the spermatozoa. Our observations confirmed the structural plan of the reproductive system reported for the genus, but found some differences concerning the accessory reproductive organs. Most importantly, we found spermatozoa inside the caudal organ of several single specimens, suggestive of a more plausible hypothesis about sperm transfer modality in Macrodasys. In the spermatozoa, the position of the mitochondrion outside rather than inside the nucleus has been confirmed as a major difference between the spermatozoa of Macrodasys species and those of the other Macrodasyida. We suggest that the peculiar structure of the mature spermatozoon of Macrodasys could derive from an incomplete process of spermatogenesis and hence it would be useful to infer phylogenetic alliances.


2022 - Not too big for its mouth: direct evidence of a macrodasyidan gastrotrich preyed in nature by a dileptid ciliate [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. A.; Luporini, P.
abstract

Nearly ubiquitous and usually speciose in most aquatic habitats, the meiofaunal-sized gastrotrichs are recognized as an important component of marine and freshwater ecosystems. The common observations that gastrotrichs feed on bacteria, microalgae and biodetritus strongly imply that they play a relevant role in linking the microbial loop to the higher trophic levels. Which are the organisms that in turn prey on gastrotrichs is, however, a substantially unexplored question. Inspecting meiofauna samples collected from shallow sites of the Tyrrhenian coast, we had the chance to spot a wild case of a macrodasyidan gastrotrich predated by a dileptid ciliate. This case is documented here with a set of in-vivo photos, jointly with an unequivocal taxonomic identification of the preyed gastrotrich with Paraturbanella teissieri and a tentative identification of the predator ciliate with Pseudomonilicaryon marinus.


2021 - An annotated checklist of the chaetonotidan Gastrotricha from India [Articolo su rivista]
Chatterjee, Tapas; Todaro, M. ANTONIO
abstract

India has a long history of research on freshwater and marine Gastrotricha. In more than 110 years of study on Order Chaetonotida, two families consisting of 11 genera and 39 species have been described. Thirty of these species are taxa originally described from other continents, while only nine species (7 freshwater, 2 marine) are only known from India. The large percentage (77%) of so-called cosmopolitan species in India has contributed to the phenomenon known as the “meiofauna paradox”. However, a careful review of the pertaining literature provides a different biogeographical picture of the chaetonotidan fauna of India. Herein we show that the high incidence of European and North American species reported from India is mainly due to a mixture of misidentification and species lumping. In fact, for only 12 species there are enough data that would make the Indian specimens morphological similar to taxa previously reported from Europe and/or North America. However, without the appropriate molecular sequence data for comparison, there is no way to rule out the possibility of cryptic speciation.We conclude that further sampling throughout India and the use of more powerful microscopical techniques (e.g., DIC optics) and molecular sequencing will reveal more species and improve the quality of re-descriptions of those (9 spp.) that so far appear to be endemic to the subcontinent. Here we recommend six species to be excluded from the fauna of India while another 11 species (non endemic to India) should be considered dubitatively present in the Indian fauna.


2021 - Discovery of two 'chimeric' Gastrotricha and their systematic placement based on an integrative approach [Articolo su rivista]
Kieneke, A.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

Sublittoral sand from the islands of Sardinia (Italy) and Flores (Azores) - separated by more than 3700 km linear distance and 8 years between two independent sampling campaigns - yielded conspicuous specimens of two bizarre, yet undescribed, species of the marine gastrotrich clade Macrodasyida. These gastrotrichs combine several character traits that were already known from two, non-related genera. Morphological data were carefully analysed and digitally documented, and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences were used for phylogenetic inference. The results of these analyses claim for the erection of a new genus. Specimens of the new taxon have a body length of less than 400 μm and are characterized by a wide, funnel-shaped mouth opening shielded dorsally by an oral hood and possess a posterior peduncle that ends with a Y-shaped pair of appendages that carry the posterior adhesive tubes. Further tubes occur as anterior, ventrolateral and lateral series; the gonads are unpaired and there is a set of two accessory reproductive organs. Molecular phylogenetic analyses confirm the results of former studies and clearly place the new taxon in Thaumastodermatidae. We hereby propose the establishment of Chimaeradasys gen. nov. and describe C. oligotubulatus sp. nov. from the Azores and C. polytubulatus sp. nov. from Sardinia.


2021 - Reproductive organs and spermatogenesis of the peculiar spermatozoa of the genus Kryptodasys (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida), with an appraisal of the occurrence and origin of the tail‐less spermatozoa in Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, Loretta; Balsamo, Maria; Ferraguti, Marco; Todaro, M. Antonio
abstract

The presence of aflagellate spermatozoa in two species of Kryptodasys (Fam. Macrodasyidae), a gastrotrich genus recently described, is reported. Their ultrastructure shows common features, which appear peculiar to the genus and different from those of male gametes of the phylogenetically unrelated Dolichodasys (Fam. Cephalodasyidae), the only other macrodasyidan genus known to have aflagellate sperm. Additional information on the ultrastructure of the genital apparatus of the two Kryptodasys species is given, which confirm the data of the originals description and the systematic delimitation of this new genus from Macrodasys, which was mainly based on the structure of the reproductive system until now. The functional and phylogenetic significance of the aflagellate condition of spermatozoa in the two taxa under study and in other species is discussed also in the light of the generally flagellate condition of functional sperm in Gastrotricha.


2020 - A New Species of Paraturbanella Remane, 1927 (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) from the Brazilian Coast, and the Molecular Phylogeny of Turbanellidae Remane, 1926 [Articolo su rivista]
Campos, A.; Todaro, M. A.; Garraffoni, A. R. S.
abstract

The family Turbanellidae includes Paraturbanella and five other genera. Despite the fact that the monophyly of these genera were not satisfactorily tested, species belonging to the genus Paraturbanella are distinguished from turbanellids by sharing a peculiar group of tubes on the ventrolateral side of the anterior pharyngeal region known as “dohrni” tubes. In this study, Paraturbanella tricaudata species nova (sp. nov.) from the intertidal zone of a sandy beach in Trindade (Rio de Janeiro State) and the sublittoral sand of Prumirim Island (São Paulo State), Brazil, is described. The new species can be distinguished from all other Paraturbanella species by the presence of three caudal cones (one medial and two laterals to it) and peculiar arrangement of the male system. This is the first description of a Paraturbanella species from Brazil and the third registered from the Southern Hemisphere (as opposed to 19 species in the Northern Hemisphere); thus, knowledge of marine gastrotrichs biodiversity in this region is far from satisfactory.


2020 - Contribution of soft-bodied meiofaunal taxa to Italian marine biodiversity [Articolo su rivista]
Curini-Galletti, M. Di Domenico M.; Fontaneto, D.; Jondelius, U.; Jörger, K. M.; Leasi, F.; Martínez, A.; Norenburg, J. L.; Sterrer, W.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

Meiofauna includes an astonishing diversity of organisms, whose census is far from being complete. Most classic ecological studies have focused on hard-bodied Ecdysozoan taxa (notably Copepoda and Nematoda), whose cuticle allows determination at species-level after fixation, rather than soft-bodied, Spiralian taxa, which most often lose any diagnostic feature in fixed samples. Yet, metabarcoding studies have recently revealed a species-richness of softbodied taxa comparable, and in cases superior, to that of Copepoda and Nematoda together. However, given objective difficulties inherent to their study, which necessarily has to be performed on living individuals, and their limited utilisation for ecological and applicative research, taxonomic expertise on soft-bodied organisms has declined over the years, and diversity of these phyla in most areas of the world is presently completely unknown. Here we present an expert-based survey of current knowledge on the composition and distribution of soft-bodied meiofaunal taxa in Italy, with special references to the predominantly or exclusively meiobenthic phyla Gastrotricha, Gnathostomulida, Platyhelminthes, Rotifera, Xenacoelomorpha, and macrofaunal taxa with conspicuous meiofaunal representatives (Annelida, Mollusca and Nemertea). A total of 638 described species have been reported from Italian coasts; furthermore, the existence of a large number of undescribed species is mentioned. Knowledge of Annelida, Gastrotricha, and Rotifera appears particularly detailed, placing Italy among the best-known country worldwide. In contrast, knowledge of Platyhelminthes and Xenacoelomorpha appears patchy, and limited to few areas. Sampling effort has been uneven, with most species recorded from the Tyrrhenian Sea, while large sections of the Adriatic and Ionian seas have been poorly explored. Results highlight the role that Marine Biological Stations, notably the Zoological Station “Anton Dohrn” in Naples, have had in promoting the study of soft-bodied taxa in Italy


2020 - Human access impacts biodiversity of microscopic animals in sandy beaches [Articolo su rivista]
Martínez, Alejandro; Eckert, Ester M.; Artois, Tom; Careddu, Giovanni; Casu, Marco; Curini-Galletti, Marco; Gazale, Vittorio; Gobert, Stefan; Ivanenko, Viatcheslav N.; Jondelius, Ulf; Marzano, Marinella; Pesole, Graziano; Zanello, Aldo; Todaro, M. Antonio; Fontaneto, Diego
abstract

Whereas most work to understand impacts of humans on biodiversity on coastal areas has focused on large, conspicuous organisms, we highlight effects of tourist access on the diversity of microscopic marine animals (meiofauna). We used a DNA metabarcoding approach with an iterative and phylogeny-based approach for the taxonomic assignment of meiofauna and relate diversity patterns to the numbers of tourists accessing sandy beaches on an otherwise un-impacted island National Park. Tourist frequentation, independently of differences in sediment granulometry, beach length, and other potential confounding factors, affected meiofaunal diversity in the shallow “swash” zone right at the mean water mark; the impacts declined with water depth (up to 2 m). The indicated negative effect on meiofauna may have a consequence on all the biota including the higher trophic levels. Thus, we claim that it is important to consider restricting access to beaches in touristic areas, in order to preserve biodiversity.


2020 - PRESENZA DEL RARO MACCABEUS TENTACULATUS POR, 1973 (PRIAPULIDA) NEL MAR LIGURE [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. A.; DAL ZOTTO, M.; Rebecchi, C.
abstract

An adult female specimen, an exuvia and several larvae of Priapulida identified as Maccabeus tentaculatus were found off Livorno (Ligurian Sea). Specimens were collected at about 100 m water depth and show morphological traits that match the original description. The finding widens the geographic range of the species, which previously was known only from the eastern Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. The actual population appears viable but scarce. These rare animals assume particular relevance in phylogenetic analyses aimed at shedding light on the in-group relationships of the Priapulida.


2020 - Studio della meiofauna nei pressi di un rigassificatore offshore [Articolo su rivista]
Dal Zotto, M.; De Biasi, A. M.; Pacciardi, L.; Pertusati, M.; Bianchi, V.; Giannetti, M.; Rebecchi, C.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

We report herein an investigation of spatial and temporal variations of meiofauna around an offshore regasification terminal located about 22 km offshore the coast of Livorno and Pisa (Ligurian Sea). Samples were collected in 12 sites located at three different distances from the plant. A total of six surveys were carried out, starting before the installation of the terminal. The investigation revealed the presence of 29 major taxa, with total meiofauna average densities ranging from 69 to 360 ind./10 cm2. The meiobenthic community varied significantly over years, irrespective to the distance from the terminal. No significant spatial variations of meiofauna around the regasification terminal were detected.


2020 - The curious and neglected soft-bodied meiofauna: Rouphozoa (Gastrotricha and Platyhelminthes) [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Artois, T.; Smith, J. P. S.; Todaro, M. A.; Guidi, L.; Brian, S.; Leander, B. S.; Van Steenkiste, N. W. L.
abstract

Gastrotricha and Platyhelminthes form a clade called Rouphozoa. Representatives of both taxa 10 are main components of meiofaunal communities, but their role in the trophic ecology of marine and freshwater communities is not sufficiently studied. Traditional collection methods for meiofauna are optimized for Ecdysozoa, and include the use of fixatives or flotation techniques that are unsuitable for the preservation and identification of soft-bodied meiofauna. As a result, rouphozoans are usually underestimated in conventional biodiversity surveys and ecological studies. Here, we give an updated outline of their diversity and taxonomy, with some phylogenetic considerations. We describe successfully tested techniques for their recovery and study, and emphasize current knowledge on the ecology, distribution, and dispersal of freshwater gastrotrichs and microturbellarians. We also discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of (meta)barcoding studies as a means of overcoming the taxonomic impediment. Finally, we discuss the importance of rouphozoans in aquatic ecosystems and provide future research directions to fill in crucial gaps in the biology of these organisms needed for understanding their basic role in the ecology of benthos and their place in the trophic networks linking micro-, meio-, and macrofauna of freshwater ecosystems.


2019 - Aethozooides uraniae, a new deep-sea genus and species of solitary bryozoan from the Mediterranean Sea, with a revision of the Aethozoidae [Articolo su rivista]
Schwaha, Thomas; Bernhard, Joan M.; Edgcomb, Virginia P.; Todaro, M. Antonio
abstract

Bryozoa is a phylum of about 6000 extant species that are almost exclusively colonial. Few species of the uncalcified Gymnolaemata, the ctenostomes, however, show solitary forms that essentially consist of single zooids. Recently, several specimens of a solitary ctenostome bryozoan were encountered for the first time in the deep Mediterranean Sea, at the edge of an anoxic brine lake. Differences in size, tentacle number, and in the variability of cystid appendages set these specimens apart from all other known solitary species. Moreover, additional morphological autapomorphic traits suggest the erection of a novel genus to allocate the new species. Consequently, the new taxon Aethozooides gen. nov. is proposed in virtue of the general resemblance of the Mediterranean specimens with those of the genus Aethozoon Hayward, 1978. Aethozooides uraniae gen. et sp. nov. shows significant variability in the number and location of cystid appendages that range from two on the basal side to one or two on the zooid mid-peristomial position and/or, rarely, on the terminal frontal side. The polypide possesses a distinct, long tentacle crown always carrying 10 tentacles. The prominent retractor muscle consists of numerous bundles that, in contrast to other known gymnolaemates, attach not only to the lophophoral base but also to various parts of the gut. Distally, the aperture shows a set of four apertural muscles including four parieto-vaginal bands. Reviewing the state and diversity of solitary ctenostomes, we propose a revision of the family Aethozoidae to include the genera Franzenella d’Hondt, 1983, Aethozoon, Aethozooides, and two species currently affiliated to the genus Franzenella (F. monniotae and F. radicans) for which we erected the new taxon Solella gen. nov.


2019 - An Introduction to the Study of Gastrotricha, with a Taxonomic Key to Families and Genera of the Group [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. Antonio; Sibaja-Cordero, Jeffrey Alejandro; Segura-Bermúdez, Oscar A.; Coto-Delgado, Génesis; Goebel-Otárola, Nathalie; Barquero, Juan D.; Cullell-Delgado, Mariana; Dal Zotto, Matteo
abstract

Gastrotricha is a group of meiofaunal-sized, free-living invertebrates present in all aquatic ecosystems. The phylum includes over 860 species globally, of which 505 nominal species have been recorded in marine sandy sediments; another 355 taxa inhabit the freshwater environments, where they are recurrent members of the periphyton and epibenthos, and, to a lesser degree, of the plankton and interstitial fauna. Gastrotrichs are part of the permanent meiofauna and, in general, they rank among the top five groups for abundance within meiobenthic assemblages. The diversity, abundance, and ubiquity of Gastrotricha allow us to suppose an important role for these animals in aquatic ecosystems; however, ecological studies to prove this idea have been comparatively very few. This is mainly because the small size and transparency of their bodies make gastrotrichs dicult to discover in benthic samples; moreover, their contractility and fragility make their handling and morphological survey of the specimens rather dicult. Here we oer an overview, describe the basic techniques used to study these animals, and provide a key to known genera in an attempt to promote easy identification and to increase the number of researchers who may be interested in conducting studies on this understudied ecological group of microscopic organisms.


2019 - An annotated checklist of the macrodasyidan Gastrotricha from India [Articolo su rivista]
Chatterjee, Tapas; Priyalakshmi, Geetha; Todaro, M. Antonio
abstract

We present a checklist of the macrodasyidan Gastrotricha fauna of India derived from original articles and comprehensive monographies regarding the Indian Fauna. Taxa and specimens described from India are discussed with special attention to their status, especially those species previously known from distant geographic areas. A total of 43 species have been recorded from 4 States and 2 Union territories. A careful taxonomic assessment indicated that many species are in need of re-description as the reported anatomical traits are not sufficient to grant a modern, robust identification. The situation is particularly poor for two species (Macrodasys indicus Govindankutty & Nair, 1969 and Paradasys lineatus Rao, 1980), which consequently, are considered here to be species inquirendae; moreover, the Indian records of Tetranchyroderma hystrix and T. massiliense reported from Kerala are doubtful and consequently the two species should not be included among the fauna of the Indian region until proper evidence is found. It is necessary to unravel the true identities of many Indian species through a comparison to topotypical material. We recommend that future comparisons between related species and conspecifics from different populations to include molecular sequence data


2019 - Integrated data analysis allows the establishment of a new, cosmopolitan genus of marine Macrodasyida (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. Antonio; Dal Zotto, Matteo; Kånneby, Tobias; Hochberg, Rick
abstract

Macrodasyida (phylum Gastrotricha) comprises 365 species distributed across 34 genera and 10 families. However, current classification is under revision due to the contradictory results of molecular and morphological cladistic analyses. Studies aimed at bridging the gaps took advantage of supplementary assessments of poorly known species and particularly from observations of new taxa showing original traits that could help to identify plesiomorphic character states in these anatomically diverse micrometazoa. We follow this path by describing three new interesting macrodasyidan species respectively from Italy, Brazil and Sweden. In many respects, the new species resemble most closely species of the genus Macrodasys; however, details of the external morphology, in combination with the different lay-out of the reproductive system and the tiny spermatozoa lacking a visible flagellum, suggest they belong to a new genus, possibly in the family Macrodasyidae. These hypotheses are supported by the phylogenetic relationships of 47 taxa inferred from analyses of the 18S rRNA gene, which found the new species clustering with Thaidasys tongiorgii in a subset of a larger clade containing Macrodasys. Accordingly, the establishment of the following taxa is proposed: Kryptodasys gen. nov., K. marcocurinii sp. nov., K. carlosrochai sp. nov. and K. ulfjondeliusi sp. nov.


2019 - Marine gastrotrichs from Lanzarote, with a description of a phylogenetically relevant species of Urodasys (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Cesaretti, A.; DAL ZOTTO, Matteo
abstract

Sampling campaign took place in October 2011 and included 7 locations and 16 stations along the eastern coast of the island of Lanzarote (Spain). Samples yielded 61 species for a total of 96 records. Thirty-six species (27 genera and 11 families) belong to Macrodasyida while 25 species (18 genera, 7 families) to Chaetonotida. Thirty-two are known species while 29 appear to be undescribed taxa or putatively so. The finding at Lanzarote of some of the known species bear particular significance: Oregodasys cirratus and Tetranchyroderma canariense are recorded for the second time ever, while Musellifer delamarei and Urodasys acanthostylis were previously known only from the Mediterranean, and Urodadys mirabilis was acknowledge only for northern Europe. Furthermore, the presence in the island of Chaetonotus apechochaetus, C. apolemmus, C. siciliensis, Heterolepidoderma loricatum, Lepidodasys unicarenatus, Musellifer delamarei, Thaumastoderma mediterraneum, and Urodasys acanthostylis, strongly suggest them to be part of the temperate/warm fauna that invaded the Mediterranean basin after the Missinian crisis during the different climate eras. Of the new species, one is described as its characteristics widen substantially our knowledge on the entire genus. Urodasys completus sp. nov. is unique in that it possesses, among others, two testes and a sclerotic stylet. Results of a phylogenetic analysis indicated that the sequence of the evolutionary transformation that have occurred in the reproductive system of the species of Urodasys are likely dissimilar from the ones proposed thus far. The overall results testify the need to continue the exploration in the Canary Islands.


2019 - Patterns of diversity and endemism of soft-bodied meiofauna in an oceanic island, Lanzarote, Canary Islands [Articolo su rivista]
Martínez, Alejandro; Di Domenico, Maikon; Leasi, Francesca; Curini-Galletti, Marco; Todaro, M. Antonio; Zotto, Matteo Dal; Gobert, Stefan; Artois, Tom; Norenburg, Jon; Jörger, Katharina M.; Núñez, Jorge; Fontaneto, Diego; Worsaae, Katrine; DAL ZOTTO, Matteo
abstract

Oceanic islands, characterized by high levels of endemism and distinct faunas when compared to neighbouring continents, represent natural evolutionary laboratories for biologists to understand ecological and evolutionary processes. However, most studies on oceanic islands have focused on terrestrial and marine macrofaunal organisms, and ignored microscopic animals. We present here an inventory of all soft-bodied meiofaunal organisms collected during a 2-week workshop on the oceanic island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Our checklist included 239 species, with 88 of them endemic to the archipelago. The number of endemic species was lower in groups with a higher proportion of parthenogenetic species, while it was not significantly affected by body size and percentage of species with dispersal stages. A higher percentage of endemic species was found in isolated habitats and environments, with only annelids showing significantly higher number of endemic species in anchialine caves. Our results might be biased by the high number of indeterminate species found in our samples and the lack of knowledge of the meiofauna of the African coast. Our findings, however, provide the first insight of patterns of diversity of soft-bodied meiofauna in Atlantic oceanic islands, suggesting that island endemic species might also exist amongst microscopic animals.


2019 - Significant occurrence of Musellifer profundus Vivier, 1974 (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) in the Black Sea [Articolo su rivista]
Sergeeva, Nelli; Ürkmez, Derya; Todaro, M. Antonio
abstract

Specimens of the gastrotrich genus Musellifer are recorded for the first time from the Black Sea. These specimens, identified as M. profundus Vivier, 1974, were found in sediment samples collected at various depths (22−135 m) and from waters characterized by low salinity (17.3−18.62 ‰) and varying levels of oxygen (2.43−299.59 uM). Three specimens were found from the Istanbul Strait (Bosphorus) outlet area of the Black Sea (Turkey) and 2 were found along the southern and southeastern shelf of the Crimean Peninsula (Russia), from the Yalta Gulf and the Feodosiya Gulf.


2019 - Studio della meiofauna nei pressi di un rigassificatore off shore (Mar Ligure) [Poster]
DAL ZOTTO, M; De Biasi, A M; Pacciardi, L; Pertusati, M; Bianchi, V; Giannetti, M; Rebecchi, C; Todaro, M A
abstract

We report herein an investigation of the potential effects on meiofauna of the regasification terminal "FSRU Toscana" (OLT Offshore LNG Toscana), located about 22 km offshore the coast of Livorno and Pisa (Ligurian Sea). Samples were collected in 12 sites located at three different distances from the plant. A total of six surveys were carried out, starting before the installation of the terminal. The investigation revealed the presence of 29 major taxa, with total meiofauna average densities ranging from 69 to 360 ind./10 cm2. The meiobenthic community varied significantly over years, irrespective to the distance from the terminal. No significant effects on meiofauna originated by the presence and operativity of the regasification terminal were detected.


2019 - The genus Condyloderes (Kinorhyncha: Cyclorhagida) in the Mediterranean Sea, including the description of two new species with novel characters [Articolo su rivista]
Dal Zotto, M.; Neuhaus, B.; Yamasaki, H.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

Two new species of Kinorhyncha belonging to the genus Condyloderes (Cyclorhagida: Centroderidae) are described herein. The specimens were collected in the Gulf of Castellammare (Tyrrhenian Sea, Sicily, Southern Italy) and off Livorno (Ligurian Sea, Tuscany, Central Italy), respectively. The new taxa represent the first species of Condyloderes described from the Mediterranean basin. Condyloderes agnetis sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by bearing cuspidate spines on segment 3 e a character never reported before for Cyclorhagida e in subdorsal position, paradorsally and sublaterally on segment 7, an extremely short midterminal spine, and a combination of cuspidate spines in lateral accessory position on segments 2 and 9, ventrolaterally slightly displaced ventromedially on segment 5, and ventrolaterally on segment 8. Condyloderes clarae sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of cuspidate spines on segments 5, 8, and 9 only, cuspidate spines ventrolaterally on segment 8 and in a lateral accessory position on segment 9, ventromedial appendages on segments 5, 6, and 7 in females. Both species exhibit the recently described type-6 sensory spots. Furthermore, the female morphology and data on the distribution of Condyloderes multispinosus (McIntyre, 1962) within the Mediterranean Sea are reported, along with the record of the co-occurrence of different species of Condyloderes at the same site. We report a certain degree of intraspecific variation of taxonomically diagnostic characters like the presence or absence of cuspidate spines and sensory spots on some segments in C. agnetis sp. nov. and C. multispinosus. The presence of regularly arranged cuticular hairs on most trunk segments and of an acicular spine in lateral accessory position on segment 1, along with the absence of an area of micropapillae on segment 9 in females of C. agnetis sp. nov. and C. clarae sp. nov., unique within the genus, suggest the existence of distinct evolutionary lines within Condyloderes. The discovery of the two new species highlights the potential species richness of a genus considered species-poor until recently. Our findings underscore the importance of promoting further studies even in rather well investigated areas, such as the Mediterranean basin. Beyond the taxonomic and biogeographical interest, the data reported herein provides additional insights for ongoing taxonomic and phylogenetic investigations on the Centroderidae and allies, and on the whole Cyclorhagida.


2018 - A new species of Turbanellidae (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) from Jamaica, with a key to species of Paraturbanella [Articolo su rivista]
Dal Zotto, M.; Leasi, F.; Todaro, M. A.
abstract

The study falls within the framework of a wider research programme aimed at investigating the gastrotrich diversity of the Tropical North-Western Atlantic (TNWA). A new macrodasyidan gastrotrich is described from fine-medium sand collected at Duncans Bay, Jamaica. The description is based on observations carried out on living specimens using differential interference contrast microscopy. Paraturbanella xaymacana sp. n., the third gastrotrich taxon reported from Jamaica, is a mid-sized species, up to 564 μm long, with a feeble peribuccal swelling. The most obvious autapomorphic traits pertain to the testes and the male pore, both of which are located approximately at mid body, rather than at- or near the pharyngo-intestinal junction as occur in the other species of the genus. Additional differences with congeners are discussed and a key to the Paraturbanella species is provided, in the hope it will be useful to both gastrotrich experts and marine ecologists who discover these microscopic metazoans during their research.


2018 - Author Correction: Biodiversity estimates and ecological interpretations of meiofaunal communities are biased by the taxonomic approach (Communications Biology, (2018), 1, 1, (112), 10.1038/s42003-018-0119-2) [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, F.; Sevigny, J. L.; Laflamme, E. M.; Artois, T.; Curini-Galletti, M.; de Jesus Navarrete, A.; Di Domenico, M.; Goetz, F.; Hall, J. A.; Hochberg, R.; Jorger, K. M.; Jondelius, U.; Todaro, M. A.; Wirshing, H. H.; Norenburg, J. L.; Thomas, W. K.
abstract

In the original published version of the article, the acknowledgements incorrectly omitted a statement acknowledging the availability of public data through the authors’ funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. This information was also missing from the Data Availability statement. In addition, the original version of the acknowledgements did not accurately reflect the relative funding to author Francesca Leasi from multiple sources. These errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


2018 - Biodiversity estimates and ecological interpretations of meiofaunal communities are biased by the taxonomic approach [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, Francesca; Sevigny, Joseph L.; Laflamme, Eric M.; Artois, Tom; Curini-Galletti, Marco; de Jesus Navarrete, Alberto; Di Domenico, Maikon; Goetz, Freya; Hall, Jeffrey A.; Hochberg, Rick; Jörger, Katharina M.; Jondelius, Ulf; Todaro, M. Antonio; Wirshing, Herman H.; Norenburg, Jon L.; Thomas, W. Kelley
abstract

Accurate assessments of biodiversity are crucial to advising ecosystem-monitoring programs and understanding ecosystem function. Nevertheless, a standard operating procedure to assess biodiversity accurately and consistently has not been established. This is especially true for meiofauna, a diverse community (>20 phyla) of small benthic invertebrates that have fundamental ecological roles. Recent studies show that metabarcoding is a cost-effective and timeeffective method to estimate meiofauna biodiversity, in contrast to morphological-based taxonomy. Here, we compare biodiversity assessments of a diverse meiofaunal community derived by applying multiple taxonomic methods based on comparative morphology, molecular phylogenetic analysis, DNA barcoding of individual specimens, and metabarcoding of environmental DNA. We show that biodiversity estimates are strongly biased across taxonomic methods and phyla. Such biases affect understanding of community structures and ecological interpretations. This study supports the urgency of improving aspects of environmental high-throughput sequencing and the value of taxonomists in correctly understanding biodiversity estimates.


2018 - Redescription of Xenodasys riedli (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida) based on SEM analysis, with first report of population density data [Articolo su rivista]
Schuster, J.; Atherton, S.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Schmidt Rhaesa, A.; Hochberg, R.
abstract

During surveys of the Gastrotricha of the Tropical Northwestern Atlantic (TNWA, Caribbean Sea), we came across numerous specimens of the uncommon macrodasyidan, Xenodasys riedli (Xenodasyidae). Abundance data on gastrotrichs is rare and entirely absent for this species; moreover, there are no data on morphological variation of X. riedli outside its type locality (North Carolina, USA). Here, we provide new abundance data on specimens collected from St. John Island (US Virgin Islands), as well as new metric and morphological data from specimens collected on San Salvador Island (Bahamas), Tobago, and a sublittoral environment on the Atlantic Coast of Florida (USA). In the interstitial environments of St. John, X. riedli was most abundant at 0.8 m depth in moderately well-sorted sediments. It reached maximum abundance of 89.5 ± 42.7 ind./102 cm and made up 69.7% of the total taxocoenosis. Metric variation revealed that specimens at all sites in the TNWA and Florida had smaller body sizes than those recorded at the type locality, but showed only limited variation in the size and number of taxonomic characters. Observations of specimen from Florida using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed details that were overlooked in the type description. For example, we observed 8 dorsal head plates (11 in the original description), 1 pair of anterior medial plates, and 3 ventral plates, the latter of which were not described in the type specimens. We confirm the existence of round scales on the dorsolateral margins, and note that spineless-scales are also present in between the spined scales on the lateral body wall. We also determined that the lateral spined scales possess dorsal and ventral spines instead of anterior and posterior spines, which was their original assumed position. This research reveals that SEM remains the best diagnostic tool for characterizing gastrotrich morphology, and should be part of all future studies of gastrotrich taxonomy.


2017 - A Tribute to William Hummon – Gastrotrich Biologist Extraordinaire [Articolo su rivista]
Hochberg, R.; Todaro, M. A.; Araujo, T. Q.; Atherton, S.; Balsamo, M.; Chang, C. Y.; Di Domenico, M.; Garraffoni, A. R. S.; Guidi, L.; Känneby, T.; Kieneke, A.; Kirk, J. J.; Leasi, F.; Lee, J. M.; Nesteruk, T.; Dal Zotto, M.; Bownes, S. J.; Cesaroni, L.; Kim, Il-hoi; Münter, L.; Perissinotto, R.
abstract

Tributo a Bill Hummon


2017 - A new species of Aspidiophorus (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotidae) from the Swedish west coast [Articolo su rivista]
Kånneby, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new species of marine Gastrotricha is describe from the west coast of Sweden.


2017 - Italian Kinorhyncha: status of Biodiversity and distribution [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

Kinorhyncha are microscopic marine metazoans constituting a phylum that comprises more than 250 described species living from intertidal to abyssal depths. Studies on the Italian kinorhynch fauna have been rather erratic in space and time, with most records originating in the first decades of the XX century from the Gulfs of Naples and Trieste. Here, we provide information based on a careful taxonomic revision of published material but mainly on new data from recent surveys carried out in areas of Ligurian Sea (4), Tyrrhenian Sea (8), Ionian Sea (1), and Adriatic Sea (3 localities). New data derives from qualitative as well as from quantitative samples. During our surveys, 30 species in 11 genera and 6 families were recorded. Of the species found, 16 appear new to science or new to the national fauna, while 14 were previously known from Italian waters. Particularly relevant is the finding of two new species of the rare genus Condyloderes, unreported before from the Mediterranean Sea. The new faunistic information, along with novelties in the systematics of the phylum, prompted us to prepare an updated checklist, which brings to 37 species, 11 genera and 6 families the number of kinorhynch taxa known from the Italian seas. The most speciose genus is Echinoderes, followed by Pycnophyes, with 11 and 10 species, respectively. The former genus includes the species showing the highest abundances, E. capitatus, with recorded densities up to 184 ind./10 cm2, while the latter includes the most common species P. communis, found in 12 localities from the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas. Concerning distribution, it appears that five species only can be considered ubiquitous in the four Italian sea basins, whereas the other species seem to be restricted to one or two basins. However, many sectors of the national waters remain unexplored. Further research should concentrate especially on peculiar habitats, such as coarse biogenic sediments, submarine caves, and lagoons, which our studies indicated as biodiversity hotspots for the ‘mud dragons’.


2017 - Italian Kinorhyncha: status of biodiversity and distribution [Poster]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

Kinorhyncha are microscopic marine metazoans constituting a phylum that comprises more than 250 described species living from intertidal to abyssal depths. Studies on the Italian kinorhynch fauna have been rather erratic in space and time, with most records originating in the first decades of the XX century from the Gulfs of Naples and Trieste. Here, we provide information based on a careful taxonomic revision of published material but mainly on new data from recent surveys carried out in areas of Ligurian Sea (4), Tyrrhenian Sea (8), Ionian Sea (1), and Adriatic Sea (3 localities). New data derives from qualitative as well as from quantitative samples. During our surveys, 30 species in 11 genera and 6 families were recorded. Of the species found, 16 appear new to science or new to the national fauna, while 14 were previously known from Italian waters. Particularly relevant is the finding of two new species of the rare genus Condyloderes, unreported before from the Mediterranean Sea. The new faunistic information, along with novelties in the systematics of the phylum, prompted us to prepare an updated checklist, which brings to 37 species, 11 genera and 6 families the number of kinorhynch taxa known from the Italian seas. The most speciose genus is Echinoderes, followed by Pycnophyes, with 11 and 10 species, respectively. The former genus includes the species showing the highest abundances, E. capitatus, with recorded densities up to 184 ind./10 cm2, while the latter includes the most common species P. communis, found in 12 localities from the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas. Concerning distribution, it appears that five species only can be considered ubiquitous in the four Italian sea basins, whereas the other species seem to be restricted to one or two basins. However, many sectors of the national waters remain unexplored. Further research should concentrate especially on peculiar habitats, such as coarse biogenic sediments, submarine caves, and lagoons, which our studies indicated as biodiversity hotspots for the ‘mud dragons’.


2017 - Novelties in the Evolution of the Urodasys reproductive system (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Cesaretti, A; DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

Macrodasyidan gastrotrichs are hermaphrodites with complex accessory reproductive organs that function in sperm transfer and receipt. Unfortunately, homology among the organs of members of different clades is largely undetermined, troubling a clear understanding of the evolutionary trends in the reproductive biology of these animals. The present study investigates the evolution of reproduction in species of the peculiar genus Urodasys, quite popular among researchers working on meiofauna in virtue of their very long tail. These gastrotrichs are extremely interesting also because they show a wide range of structures, modes, and reproductive strategies. It is likely that a phylogenetic study of these taxa may shed light on the evolutionary trends in the reproductive biology of the genus and possibly of the entire phylum. Urodasys presently consists of 15 species, one of which, U. viviparus, is parthenogenetic and ovoviviparous, while the others are hermaphroditic and oviparous. Four of the latter species show paired ovaries and testes, but no accessory sexual organ, whilst 10 possess two ovaries, a single testis and a sclerotic, copulatory organ called a stylet. Recently, a new species bearing a stylet but two testes was found at Lanzarote (Canary Islands). All this data was opportunely coded and cladistically analyzed. Meanwhile, phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of the 18S rDNA gene obtained from representative species were concurrently carried out. The results of the two analyses are widely overlapping and substantially separate the investigated species into two clades, with the new species that appears as an early divergent line along the evolutionary branch of the stylet-bearing taxa. However, U. viviparus appears to be allied with the stylus-lacking species in the morphological analyses, while the molecular analyses place it amongst the stylet-bearing species. In any case, regardless of the position of U. viviparus, the results indicate that the sequence of evolutionary transformations occurred in the reproductive system of the species of Urodasys is likely dissimilar from those previously proposed by other authors.


2017 - Organism-substrate interactions and astrobiology: Potential, models and methods [Articolo su rivista]
Baucon, Andrea; de Carvalho, Carlos Neto; Barbieri, Roberto; Bernardini, Federico; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Celani, Antonio; Felletti, Fabrizio; Ferretti, Annalisa; Schönlaub, Hans Peter; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tuniz, Claudio
abstract

Organism-substrate interactions and their products – biogenic structures – are important biosignatures on Earth. This study discusses the application of ichnology – the study of organism-substrate interactions – to the search for present and past life beyond Earth. Three main questions are addressed: (1) Why to look for biogenic structures (i.e. traces and ichnofabrics) beyond Earth? (2) What biogenic structures to expect on other planets, moons and asteroids? (3) How to study extraterrestrial biogenic structures? Review of terrestrial evidence highlights a set of properties that make traces and ichnofabrics important for the search of potential extraterrestrial life: trace fossils preserve the activity of soft-bodied organisms; biogenic structures are resilient to processes that obliterate other biosignatures (i.e. mechanical and chemical degradation, diagenesis, tectonism and metamorphism); traces are very visible biosignatures; traces indicate environment and behaviour; traces can be universal biosignatures, i.e., biosignatures ideally suited for detecting any type of life. A model of organism-substrate interactions beyond Earth is here proposed. Expected extraterrestrial traces are those that manifest behaviours that allow to maintain homeostasis: excavations, meandering traces and biodeposition structures. Most of the existing rovers and orbiters provide basic instruments for searching these traces. It is here suggested that the search for extraterrestrial biogenic structures by rovers would also benefit from artificial adjustable lighting, GPR, LiDAR, and drilling equipment with optical televiewer. In this study, open-access databases of rover and orbiter imagery have been searched for traces and ichnofabrics, but no unquestionable evidence of biogenic structures beyond Earth has been found besides those produced by humans. This sounds along the lines of the famous Fermi Paradox: if the universe is teeming with aliens, where are their traces? Results of this search show that habitable environments are not the only place to look for biogenic structures; non-habitable environments such as moons without atmosphere can favour the preservation of shallow-tier traces. The better preservation potential of traces compared to other biosignatures greatly widens the issue of planetary protection, including the interaction between astronauts or vehicles and the substrate may produce disturbances. Although this study highlights a new direction of study with the tools and concepts of ichnology, dialogue between the astrobiological and ichnological communities is needed to use its full potential and possibly answer one of the major questions of science: Does life exist beyond Earth?


2017 - The unusual spermatozoa of Dolichodasys sp. (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Todaro, M. A.; Cesaroni, L.; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The spermatozoon of an undescribed species of Dolichodasys (Cephalodasyidae) from the Pacific coast of Panama was studied at structural and ultrastructural levels. Under optical microscopy, it appears as a short and wide cell with pointed extremities but without a flagellum. The cell body is made up of two well distinct regions: an anterior region with a homogeneous appearance, and a posterior region containing an evident rod-like nucleus. Under TEM, a peripheral layer of microtubules densely arranged extends for the whole cell length. In the anterior cell region, microtubules surround many tubular cisternae of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER), and a thin layer of vesicles with a probable acrosomal function lies just beneath the plasma membrane. The rod-shaped nucleus fills up the posterior cell region and forms a pouch that hosts a single large, irregular mitochondrial mass. A hypothesis about the motility of this aflagellate cell is advanced, on the basis of the coexistence of singlet microtubules and SER. The general architecture of Dolichodasys sp. spermatozoon departs from the Macrodasyida sperm basic model, consisting of a filiform cell with a corkscrew-shaped acrosome, a spring-shaped nucleus surrounding a mitochondrial axis and an ordinary flagellum. The unusual morphology of the Dolichodasys sperm seems to be unique in the family Cephalodasyidae: the data available for 6 species belonging to the other 4 genera of the family report spermatozoa perfectly matching the basic sperm plan of the Macrodasyida. A sister-taxon relationship between Dolichodasys and Cephalodasys, two genera drastically different in sperm shape, emerged from recent phylogenetic molecular studies, but it needs confirmation due to the still limited number of molecular data and the likely polyphyletic nature of the family Cephalodasyidae.


2017 - Two new interesting species of Macrodasyida (Gastrotricha) from KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, M. A.; Dal Zotto, M.; Bownes, S. J.; Perissinotto, R.
abstract

This study is part of a larger research program aimed at shedding light on meiofauna and macrofauna communities of the subtropical Eastern Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Previous articles on the phylum Gastrotricha have detailed faunistic and preliminary taxonomic data on marine and freshwater species found in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Here, two new interesting marine macrodasyidan species, in the families Cephalodasyidae and Turbanellidae, are reported from a wider area of the KZN coast. Descriptions are based on observations carried out on living specimens using differential interference contrast microscopy. Pleurodasys incomptus new species is the second species in the genus; surprisingly, it lacks the peculiar gravireceptor organs (pharyngeal knobs) thought to be an autapomorphic trait of the genus. Paraturbanella africana new species is a mid-sized species (up to 520 µm in length), showing a peribuccal swelling; its most obvious autapomorphic trait pertains to the testes, which are located well passed half the body rather than at- or near the pharyngo-intestinal junction as occur in the other species of the genus. The relevant anatomical novelties shown by the two new species testify that current knowledge about gastrotrich basic morphology is far from complete. This holds true also for taxa that are considered to be well-known (e.g. the speciose genus Paraturbanella), and stresses once again the importance of investigating new geographic areas in order to improve our understanding of global gastrotrich morphological diversity and species richness.


2016 - In a galaxy far, far away...traces? Astrobiological potential of Ichnology [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Baucon, Andrea; De Carvalho, Carlos Neto; Barbieri, Roberto; Bernardini, Federico; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Celani, Antonio; Felletti, Fabrizio; Ferretti, Annalisa; Schönlaub, Hans Peter; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tuniz, Claudio
abstract

The paper explores the relation between organisms and sediments looking for possible indications for exploring traces of life far far away.


2016 - Kinorhyncha from Italy, a revision of the current checklist and an account of the recent investigations [Articolo su rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, Matteo; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Except for the noticeable investigations carried out in 1928 by Karl Zelinka in the Gulf of Naples and Gulf of Trieste, research on the Italian kinorhynch fauna has been rather erratic in space and time. According to the current checklist of the Italian marine biota, 48 species of Kinorhyncha were reported up to 2008 along the Italian coastlines. However, 31 of them are considered nomina dubia and hence of doubtful utility. Here we point out those taxa and provide new information based on recent publications and on novel investigations carried out in selected areas of the Adriatic Sea (3 localities), Ligurian Sea (4), Tyrrhenian Sea (8), and Ionian Sea (1). New data derives from qualitative as well as from quantitative samples. The analysis of the new samples yielded 6 families, 9 genera, and 29 species, of which only 16 were previously recorded from peninsular waters. In summary, we recorded one new genus and two new species for Italy, together with 13 additional species that appear new to science. Particularly interesting is the finding of two new species belonging to rare genus Condyloderes, as it represents the first record of this taxon in the Mediterranean Sea. The most speciose genus is Echinoderes, followed by Pycnophyes with 10 and 8 species, respectively. The former genus includes the taxon showing the highest abundance, Echinoderes capitatus, with recorded densities up to 184 ind./10cm2, while the latter includes the most common species Pycnophyes communis, found in 7 out of the 16 new investigated localities. New faunistic information prompted the revision of the checklist, which in the new version includes 36 species in 9 genera and 6 families. Old and new data were utilized for a preliminary discussion on the geographic distribution of the recorded fauna, from which it appeared that five species only can be considered ubiquitous in the four Italian sea basins, whereas the other taxa appear to be restricted to one or two seas. However, many sectors of the Italian coastline remain unexplored. Besides those areas (e.g., mid Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts), future research should be focused on peculiar habitats, such as submarine caves, lagoons, and coarse biogenic sediments, as many species and species records come from these neglected biotopes, often representing biodiversity hotspots.


2016 - Organic enrichment effects on a marine meiofauna community, with focus on Kinorhyncha [Articolo su rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, Matteo; Santulli, A.; Simonini, Roberto; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Within the framework of a programme aimed at monitoring the impact of fish farming on the marine biota, we have had the opportunity to study the effect of the organic enrichment caused by the fish farm on meiofauna abundances and Kinorhyncha communities’ structure over two farming cycles. Up to now, studies on kinorhynchs have focussed mostly on the taxonomy, biogeography, and the ultrastructure, and, more recently, on the phylogenetic aspects of the taxon. Only few studies have dealt with the ecology of these creatures and studies focusing on the response of these animals to disturbances of anthropogenic origin are rare. The study took place in the Western Mediterranean and fauna was investigated based on three replicate cores collected from eight sites: one beneath the farm, four along a transect with increasing distances from the farm, and three control sites. Density data from beneath the cage and the three control sites was analysed within a beyond-B.A.C.I. (Before-After, Control-Impact) with asymmetrical sampling design, while a Before-After approach was used to analyse data from other sites. The latter approach was applied also to investigate the environmental variables from all the surveyed sites. Overall, 21 major meiofaunal groups were found in the area, with total densities ranging from 595 to 6818 ind/10cm2. We recorded a variation of the densities of several taxa after each cycle. In particular, we observed a significant increase of the total meiofauna and nematodes abundances, and a marked decrease of kinorhynchs diversity and density at the sites beneath and near the farming ‘Cage’. Conversely, kinorhynch density increased at sites far from the farm. Kinorhynchs were present with ten species, including a representative of the rare genus Condyloderes, and densities up to more than 245 ind./10cm2. Analyses indicate that kinorhynchs are particularly sensitive to sulfides. Accumulation of organic matter and high concentration of sulfides caused a marked reduction or even the disappearance of kinorhynchs. If confirmed by additional studies, the nematodes/kinorhynchs ratio could be used as simple and useful tool for the assessment of organic enrichment in marine environments, especially in muddy bottoms.


2015 - A Transcriptomic-Phylogenomic Analysis of the Evolutionary Relationships of Flatworms [Articolo su rivista]
Egger, Bernhard; Lapraz, François; Tomiczek, Bartłomiej; Müller, Steven; Dessimoz, Christophe; Girstmair, Johannes; Škunca, Nives; Rawlinson, Kate A.; Cameron, Christopher B.; Beli, Elena; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Gammoudi, Mehrez; Noreña, Carolina; Telford, Maximilian J.
abstract

The interrelationships of the flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes) are poorly resolved despite decades of morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies [1, 2]. The earliest-branching clades (Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, and Polycladida) share spiral cleavage and entolecithal eggs with other lophotrochozoans. Lecithoepitheliata have primitive spiral cleavage but derived ectolecithal eggs. Other orders (Rhabdocoela, Proseriata, Tricladida and relatives, and Bothrioplanida) all have derived ectolecithal eggs but have uncertain affinities to one another. The orders of parasitic Neodermata emerge from an uncertain position from within these ectolecithal classes. To tackle these problems, we have sequenced transcriptomes from 18 flatworms and 5 other metazoan groups. The addition of published data produces an alignment of >107,000 amino acids with less than 28% missing data from 27 flatworm taxa in 11 orders covering all major clades. Our phylogenetic analyses show that Platyhelminthes consist of the two clades Catenulida and Rhabditophora. Within Rhabditophora, we show the earliest-emerging branch is Macrostomorpha, not Polycladida. We show Lecithoepitheliata are not members of Neoophora but are sister group of Polycladida, implying independent origins of the ectolecithal eggs found in Lecithoepitheliata and Neoophora. We resolve Rhabdocoela as the most basally branching euneoophoran taxon. Tricladida, Bothrioplanida, and Neodermata constitute a group that appears to have lost both spiral cleavage and centrosomes. We identify Bothrioplanida as the long-sought closest free-living sister group of the parasitic Neodermata. Among parasitic orders, we show that Cestoda are closer to Trematoda than to Monogenea, rejecting the concept of the Cercomeromorpha. Our results have important implications for understanding the evolution of this major phylum.


2015 - An Integrated Morphological and Molecular Approach to the Description and Systematisation of a Novel Genus and Species of Macrodasyida (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Dal Zotto, M.; Leasi, F.
abstract

Background Gastrotricha systematics is in a state of flux mainly due to the conflicts between cladistic studies base on molecular markers and the classical systematisation based on morphological traits. In sandy samples from Thailand, we found numerous macrodasyidan gastrotrichs belonging to an undescribed species of difficult taxonomic affiliation. The abundance and original nature of the specimens prompted us to undertake a deep survey of both morphological and molecular traits aiming at a reliable systematisation of the new taxon. Methodology/Principal Findings Using several microscopical techniques we investigated the external and internal anatomy, including the muscular and nervous systems of the new species. Additional specimens were used to obtain the 18S rRNA gene sequence; molecular data was analysed cladistically in conjunction with data from additional species belonging to the near complete Macrodasyida taxonomic spectrum. Specimens are vermiform, up to 806 μm in total length, and show a well-defined head equipped with peculiar leaf-like sensorial organs and a singlelobed posterior end. The adhesive apparatus includes anterior, ventrolateral, dorsal and posterior tubes. Pharynx is about 1/4 of the total length and shows pores at its posterior 3/4. Adult specimens exhibit maturing eggs and a bulky, muscular caudal organ, but do not show sperm nor the frontal organ. Musculature and nervous system organisation resemble the usual macrodasyidan plan; however, the somatic circular muscles of the intestinal region surround all other muscular components and a third FMRFamide-IR commissure ventral to the pintestinal junction appear to be an autoapomorphic traits of the new species. Conclusions/Significance While the anatomical characteristics of the Asian specimens appear so unique to grant the establishment of a new taxon, for which the name Thaidasys tongiorgii gen. et sp. nov. is proposed, the result of phylogenetic analyses based on the 18S rRNA gene unites the new genus with the family Macrodasyidae.


2015 - Bioturbation beyond Earth: potential, methods and models of astroichnology [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Baucon, Andrea; de Carvalho, Carlos Neto; Bernardini, Federico; Cardini, Andrea Luigi; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Celani, Antonio; Felletti, Fabrizio; Ferretti, Annalisa; Schönlaub, Hans Peter; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Traces – burrows, borings, footprints – are important evidences of biological behaviour on Earth, yet they received relatively little attention in the field of astrobiology. This study aims to discuss the application of ichnology (i.e. the study of life activity traces) to the search for past and modern life beyond Earth (i.e. herein called Astroichnology).


2015 - Fauna Europaea: Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; D`hondt, J. L.; Kisielewski, J.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, P.; Guidi, L.; de Jong, Y.
abstract

Fauna Europaea provides a public web-service with an index of scientific names (including important synonyms) of all living European land and freshwater animals, their geographical distribution at country level (up to the Urals, excluding the Caucasus region), and some additional information. The Fauna Europaea project covers about 230,000 taxonomic names, including 130,000 accepted species and 14,000 accepted subspecies, which is much more than the originally projected number of 100,000 species. This represents a huge effort by more than 400 contributing specialists throughout Europe and is a unique (standard) reference suitable for many users in science, government, industry, nature conservation and education. Gastrotricha are a meiobenthic phylum composed of 813 species known so far (2 orders, 17 families) of free-living microinvertebrates commonly present and actively moving on and into sediments of aquatic ecosystems, 339 of which live in fresh and brackish waters. The Fauna Europaea database includes 214 species of Chaetonotida (4 families) plus a single species of Macrodasyida incertae sedis. This paper deals with the 224 European freshwater species known so far, 9 of which, all of Chaetonotida, have been described subsequently and will be included in the next database version. Basic information on their biology and ecology are summarized, and a list of selected, main references is given. As a general conclusion the gastrotrich fauna from Europe is the best known compared with that of other continents, but shows some important gaps of knowledge in Eastern and Southern regions.


2015 - Metazoans of redoxcline sediments in Mediterranean deep-sea hypersaline anoxic basins [Articolo su rivista]
Bernhard, J. M.; Morrison, C. R.; Pape, E.; Beaudoin, D. J.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Pachiadaki, M. G.; Kormas, K. A.; Edgcomb, V. P.
abstract

Background: The deep-sea hypersaline anoxic basins (DHABs) of the Mediterranean (water depth ~3500 m) are some of the most extreme oceanic habitats known. Brines of DHABs are nearly saturated with salt, leading many to suspect they are uninhabitable for eukaryotes. While diverse bacterial and protistan communities are reported from some DHAB haloclines and brines, loriciferans are the only metazoan reported to inhabit the anoxic DHAB brines. Our goal was to further investigate metazoan communities in DHAB haloclines and brines. Results: We report observations from sediments of three DHAB (Urania, Discovery, L’Atalante) haloclines, comparing these to observations from sediments underlying normoxic waters of typical Mediterranean salinity. Due to technical difficulties, sampling of the brines was not possible. Morphotype analysis indicates nematodes are the most abundant taxon; crustaceans, loriciferans and bryozoans were also noted. Among nematodes, Daptonema was the most abundant genus; three morphotypes were noted with a degree of endemicity. The majority of rRNA sequences were from planktonic taxa, suggesting that at least some individual metazoans were preserved and inactive. Nematode abundance data, in some cases determined from direct counts of sediments incubated in situ with CellTracker Green, was patchy but generally indicates the highest abundances in either normoxic control samples or in upper halocline samples; nematodes were absent or very rare in lower halocline samples. Ultrastructural analysis indicates the nematodes in L’Atalante normoxic control sediments were fit, while specimens from L’Atalante upper halocline were healthy or had only recently died and those from the lower halocline had no identifiable organelles. Loriciferans, which were only rarely encountered, were found in both normoxic control samples as well as in Discovery and L’Atalante haloclines. It is not clear how a metazoan taxon could remain viable under this wide range of conditions. Conclusions: We document a community of living nematodes in normoxic, normal saline deep-sea Mediterranean sediments and in the upper halocline portions of the DHABs. Occurrences of nematodes in mid-halocline and lower halocline samples did not provide compelling evidence of a living community in those zones. The possibility of a viable metazoan community in brines of DHABs is not supported by our data at this time.


2015 - The phylogenetic position of Neogosseidae (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotida) and the origin of planktonic Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Kånneby, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Planktonic forms of Gastrotricha have been known since the 1850s, despite the fact that they are rather uncommon and difficult to collect. They are characterized by a round sack-shaped body, an absence of furcal adhesive tubes, and a different distribution of the locomotory ciliation compared to epibenthic and periphytic gastrotrichs. Today, planktonic gastrotrichs are classified into the three taxa—Dasydytidae, Neogosseidae, and Undula—but their origin and whether they share a recent common ancestor remain largely unknown. A long-held view is that planktonic taxa are derived from benthic ancestors related to Chaetonotus (Zonochaeta), but the hypothesis has never been properly tested. Here, in order to elucidate the phylogeny and origin of planktonic Gastrotricha, we provide the first molecular data on the very rare genera Kijanebalola and Neogossea, both members of the family Neogosseidae. We use Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetics to analyze sequences of 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, and COI mtDNA spanning 71 taxa in total. We find high support for a common origin of planktonic gastrotrichs, with monophyly of both Dasydytidae and Neogosseidae. Planktonic forms have evolved from epibenthic or periphytic ancestors, and the closest extant clade comprises members of Chaetonotus (Zonochaeta)+Chaetonotus heteracanthus Remane, 1927. These results further imply that the motile spines and underlying muscle patterns that control them in species of Dasydytidae are adaptations to the planktonic environment that evolved independently of those in other species of Gastrotricha.


2015 - Two new marine Gastrotricha from the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Perissinotto, R.; Bownes, S. J.
abstract

The study is part of a larger research programme aimed at shedding light on the gastrotrich communities of the subtropical east coast province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In previous papers, faunistic and preliminary taxonomic data on marine and freshwater gastrotrichs found in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, were reported. Here two new interesting marine macrodasyidan species in the families Dactylopodolidae and Thaumastodermatidae are described based on observations carried out on living specimens and using differential interference contrast microscopy. The two novel species are named in honor of two great South African icons recently deceased: Nadine Gordimer and Nelson Mandela. Dactylopodola nadine sp. n. is the third species in the genus to bear red eye-spots; it can easily be distinguished from the closely-related red-eyed D. baltica and D. roscovita by its smaller size (Total length = 230 μm vs 275 μm vs 450 μm, respectively) and the lower number of adhesive tubes of the anterior, lateral and posterior series (on each side: 3, 4 and 4 vs 5, 6 and 8 vs 2, 9 and 12–15). Pseudostomella mandela sp. n. is a fairly large species (up to 481 μm in length), with a cuticular covering made up of tetrancres and relatively long caudal pedicles (up to 44 μm in length ). The most evident autoapomorphic trait of the new species is the presence of 7 pairs of ‘cirrata’ tubes, two emerging in a lateral position along the pharyngeal region and five from the dorsolateral sides of the trunk. Additional relevant taxonomic characters include: 4 tubes of the anterior series, 11 tubes of the ventrolateral series and 3 tubes of the posterior series per side, 5 papillae on the dorsal margin and 6 papillae on the ventral margin of the oral palps. The high number of putative new species discovered among the South African gastrotrich fauna during our relatively short survey, highlights the relevance of this region with regard to the diversity of this group and stresses once again the importance of investigating new geographic areas in order to improve our understanding of global gastrotrich biodiversity and species richness.


2014 - A new species, genus and family of marine Gastrotricha from Jamaica, with a phylogenetic analysis of Macrodasyida based on molecular data [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Leasi, F.; Hochberg, R.
abstract

Gastrotricha is a phylum of aquatic microinvertebrates counting about 850 species divided into the two orders Chaetonotida and Macrodasyida. Currently, Chaetonotida includes 8 families and 31 genera while Macrodasyida includes 9 families and 32 genera; however, systematics is in a state of flux due to phylogenetic incongruences of the classical systematization. The process of re-systematization will benefit from additional surveys of insufficiently known taxa and especially from the discovery of new species bearing novel characteristics that could help to recognize plesiomorphy in these morphologically diverse animals. Herein, a new and interesting macrodasyidan species from the northwestern shore of Jamaica is described. Specimens up to 1170 mm in length have: a vermiform body with numerous epidermal glands; naked cuticle; head weakly demarked; posterior end in the form of two caudal pedicles; TbA, arranged in two diagonal rows, inserting directly on the cuticle; TbL/TbVL scarce; TbD and TbV absent; TbP at the tip of each caudal pedicle and along its inner margins; midsized terminal mouth; pharynx with pores at the base; PhIJ at U20; intestine rectilinear, anus ventral; hermaphroditic sexual apparatus; gonads paired: female anterior, male posterior; gametes maturing in a caudo-cephalic direction; spermatozoa relatively short, with spiralled head and spiralled tail; sperm ducts directed posteriorly, converging ventrally on the midline and joining the sac-like caudal organ; and frontal organ, dorsal to the intestine, not obviously muscularized. External morphology and layout of the reproductive system appear so unique among Gastrotricha to grant the establishment of a new taxon, for which the name Hummondasys jamaicensis gen. et sp. nov. is proposed. Furthermore, to allocate the new genus, the creation of the new family Hummondasyidae is proposed based both on the morphological peculiarities and results of phylogenetic analyses based on the 18S rRNA gene, which involved all of the relevant macrodasyidan taxa.


2014 - Reproductive system and spermatozoa ultrastructure support the phylogenetic proximity of Megadasys and Crasiella (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ferraguti, M.; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The reproductive system and the spermatozoon of Megadasys sterreri from Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain) were studied at structural and ultrastructural levels. The species is a simultaneous hermaphrodite with cross-fertilization and shows paired gonads, the male anterior and the female posterior, and both gametes mature in a caudo-cephalic direction. Sperm ducts converge on the midline and open into a ventral common pore. Two sexual accessory organs are present in the caudal trunk. A pipe-like frontal organ lies between the ovaries and the caudal organ, and is composed of a long, thin region connected to a large zone containing mature and degenerating spermatozoa. The cigar-like caudal organ is elongate, bulky and is made of an anterior glandulo-muscular region and a posterior muscular one. Spermatozoa are long, filiform cells formed by an acrosome, a nucleus-mitochondrial complex, and a flagellum. The long acrosome is composed of an apical twisted region and a basal straight region. The nucleo-mitochondrial complex is formed by a spring-shaped nucleus surrounding basally the mitochondrion and apically a granular material. The flagellum has a 9x2+2 axoneme, characterized by a dense and prominent central sheath surrounding the central tubules. Megadasys sterreri (Cephalodasyidae) shows the same reproductive layout as Crasiella (Planodasyidae): paired gonads, caudo-cephalic maturation of gametes, sperm ducts converging into a common ventral pore, and two sexual accessory organs. Also the spermatozoa ultrastructure shows two similarities in the two genera: a peculiar prominent central sheath in the axoneme and a similar structure of the basal region of the acrosome. Considering the likely polyphyletic nature of the family Cephalodasyidae, and the sister- taxon relationship of Megadasys and Crasiella that emerged from a recent molecular phylogenetic study, a close relationship between the two taxa appears to be very likely; consequently, we propose to remove Megadasys from the family Cephalodasyidae and affiliate it to the family Planodasyidae.


2014 - Three Sika deer Cervus nippon recently hunted in the Emilia-Romagna’s area of “A.C.A.T.E.R. West” question the management of Italian Cervus elaphus population [Abstract in Rivista]
Ferri, M; DAL ZOTTO, M; Sala, L; Todaro, M A; Barančekovà, M; Fontana, R; Lanzi, A; Armaroli, E; Musarò, C; Andina, L; Allegri, M; Adorni, P L; Peloso, F; Gelmini, L; Levrini, M; De Pietri, A
abstract

The European Red deer (Cervus elaphus) population of ACATER West (northern Appennines, Emilia-Romagna) is the target of censuses since 2009, and under hunting plan since 2012. In February 2011, a deer was tentatively identified as Sika deer (Cervus nippon) and after several attempts of trapping it was finally shot by the Provincial officers in March 2012, in the same locality where it was observed one year before. The details of the event, involving an adult male of 72 kg weight, have been reported in a poster presented at the VIII National Congress of Teriology (ATIt, Piacenza, 9-11 May 2012), where the case was described as the first in Italy. Only after the meeting a previous case was brought to our knowledge, having occurred in October 2010 in the province of Bolzano also concerning an adult male of 73 kg. A second Sika deer was hunted in Modena, in October 2012, at the same site of the previous killing; also this time it was an adult male weighting 113 kg. After these cases an investigation has started in order to identify farms or detention sites of Sika deer from which the specimens could have escaped. The survey, particularly challenging and often frustrating, has excluded recent escapes from Sika farms of the Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Lombardia and Liguria regions. However 3-4 specimens escaped in 1999 from a farm in the mountains of southern Emilia-Romagna region. A variable degree of hybridization between Scottish Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Sika deer has been reported in several European areas, therefore, additional concern for the ACATER West Red deer population derives from the existence of potential hybrids of Cervus elaphus x Cervus nippon purchased in Scotland and bred since 40 years in central Italy and Emilia Romagna, some of which have escaped from captivity and settled near the site of the Sika deer shot. Morphological variability due to potential hybridization and degree of introgression may make difficult to distinguish between Sika and Red deer. Consequently, it was proposed to the Emilia-Romagna Region and Modena’s Province the implementation of an information sheet (made with the coordination of ISPRA) concerning the morphological characters of Cervus nippon and its similarities and differences with Cervus elaphus and Dama dama (Fallow deer), with the aim of raising awareness in the volunteer staff in charge of biometrics. The circulation of information has in fact contributed to alert several hunters and volunteers of ACATER West, with interesting feedbacks and rising questions regarding cases deemed suspect or doubtful. Among these, could be the case of a Sika deer hunted in January 2014 in the province of Parma, about 30 miles far from Modena’s site, but still included in the same . As in the past, the animal was an adult male, weighting 123 kg. The collaborative attitude of the hunters allowed to start collecting samples for genetic tests aimed at determining if the three Sika deer so far shot were pure species or hybrids. Additional tests will determine whether some apparently pure European deer shot may in fact derive from introgression from Sika or not. The genetic surveys based on microsatellites analysis, in cooperation between Czech and Italian laboratories, are in progress.


2013 - A new eye-bearing Macrodasys (Gastrotricha : Macrodasyida) from Jamaica [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Leasi, F.
abstract

A new macrodasyidan gastrotrich is described from fine-medium sand collected at Doctor's cave beach of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Macrodasys ommatus n. sp. is the first gastrotrich to be reported from the Jamaica, the second described species in the genus to bear eye-spots and the . The shape of the frontal organ distinguishes the Jamaican species from its sibling M. nigrocellus: elongate and undulate without an accessory lateral chamber in the former vs. rather short with an accessory lateral chamber in the latter. The following combination of characters further distinguish the new species from its congeners: up to 7 anterior adhesive tubes per side arranged in a transversal row, three pairs of lateral adhesive tubes equally spaced along the intestinal region, up to 21 ventro-lateral adhesive tubes per side, two of which arise along the posterior region of the pharynx.


2013 - A new non-naked species of Ptychostomella (Gastrotricha) from Brazil [Articolo su rivista]
TODARO, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new species of marine Gastrotricha from Brazil is described and discussed. Ptychostomella lamelliphora sp. n. is one of the several new taxa that were found during an extensive survey of the gastrotrich fauna carried out in 2002 and 2003 along the coastline of the State of São Paulo. The new species is unique in that it possesses cuticular ornamentations in the form of plate-like structures (scales) along the lateral borders of the body and two massive clusters of densely packed adhesive tubes on the ventral surface, near the ano-genital opening. Both these features appear to be adaptations to challenge the high energy waters that characterize the species’ microhabitat: the coarse sublittoral sand in the channel between the mainland and the largest island in the State, Ihlabela. Additionally, a key to the described Ptychostomella species of the world is provided.


2013 - Neogosseidae (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) from the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Perissinotto, R.; Bownes, S. J.
abstract

Among the mostly benthic gastrotrichs, the Neogosseidae (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) are particularly interesting from an evolutionary point of view in virtue of their planktonic lifestyle; yet, they are poorly known and uncertainties concerning morphological traits hamper accurate in-group systematics. During a recent survey of meiofauna in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa, two species of Neogosseidae were found in a freshwater pond near Charter's Creek on the Western Shores of Lake St Lucia. Based on morphological traits, one species has been identified as Neogossea acanthocolla, originally described from Brazil, while the other, affiliated to the genus Kijanebalola, is proposed as new to science. Using a combinationof differential interference contrast and scanning electron microscopy, fine anatomical details were observed and are here discussed in a larger taxonomic framework, especially regarding K. devestiva sp. n. Results have also provided reasons for a revision of the diagnostic traits of Kijanebalola, Neogosseaand the whole Family Neogosseidae. Besides expanding awareness about the biodiversity hosted by South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, our study will be beneficial to future phylogenetic studies of the Gastrotricha based on morphology, by allowing the selection and/or a more precise character coding of traits of phylogenetic relevance.


2013 - Phylogeny of Chaetonotidae and other Paucitubulatina (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotida) and the colonization of aquatic ecosystems. [Articolo su rivista]
Kanneby, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Jondelius, U.
abstract

Chaetonotidae is the largest family within Gastrotricha with almost 400 nominal species represented in both freshwater and marine habitats. The group is probably non-monophyleticand suffers from a troubled taxonomy. Current classification is to a great extent based on shape and distribution of cuticular structures, characters that are highly variable. Wepresent the most densely sampled molecular study so far where 17 of the 31 genera belonging to Chaetonotida are represented. Bayesian and maximum likelihood approachesbased on 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA and COI mtDNA are used to reconstruct relationships within Chaetonotidae. The use of cuticular structures for supra-specific classificationwithin the group is evaluated and the question of dispersal between marine and freshwater habitats is addressed. Moreover, the subgeneric classification of Chaetonotus is tested in aphylogenetic context. Our results show high support for a clade containing Dasydytidae nested within Chaetonotidae. Within this clade, only three genera are monophyletic followingcurrent classification. Genera containing both marine and freshwater species never form monophyletic clades and group with other species according to habitat. Marine membersof Aspidiophorus appear to be the sister group of all other Chaetonotidae and Dasydytidae, indicating a marine origin of the clade. Halichaetonotus and marineHeterolepidoderma form a monophyletic group in a sister group relationship to freshwater species, pointing towards a secondary invasion of marine environments of these taxa. Ourstudy highlights the problems of current classification based on cuticular structures, characters that show homoplasy for deeper relationships.


2012 - A fresh look at Dinodasys mirabilis (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida), with focus on the reproductive apparatus and sperm ultrastructure [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Guidi, L.; Ferraguti, M.; Balsamo, M.
abstract

Adults of Dinodasys mirabilis were studied for the first time. The specimens, collected from the west coast of Sweden, were investigated alive and with electron microscopy. Sexually mature specimens attain a total length of 450-490 µm; the adhesive apparatus is made up of anterior, lateral, ventrolateral, dorsal and posterior tubes; one pair of 'cirrata' type tubes is also present. The reproductive apparatus is hermaphroditic; paired testes extend rearward from the pharyngeo-intestinal junction to 3/4 of the trunk; sperm ducts bend anteriorly at U52 and join together into a common, midventral pore at U33. Two ovaries lie along the sides of the caudal intestine, extending anteriorly from U68. Frontal organ present on the right side of the body, centred a U70; caudal organ absent; a gland organ surrounding the terminal intestine may be present but its homology with other organs in a similar position is uncertain. The spermatozoon is a filiform cell, formed by a long acrosome, a spring-like nucleus and a flagellum. The acrosome is divided into two regions: the anterior-most is thin and corkscrew-shaped, the posterior one is rectilinear; both regions are delimited by a continuous external layer of thick, dense material, that in longitudinal section appears obliquely striated and surrounds a long pile of stout, electron-dense cylinders; the nucleus contains condensed chromatin and is coiled around an elongate mitochondrion; the flagellum possesses a 9x2 + 2 axoneme devoid of striated cylinder. Within Macrodasyida, U-bend sperm ducts and the peculiar ultrastructure of the acrosome are characteristics shared by other Turbanellidae studied so far, providing a foundation for the current systematization of Dinodasys.


2012 - A new marine gastrotrich from the State of São Paulo (Brazil), with a key to species of Pseudostomella (Gastrotricha, Thaumastodermatidae) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

In previous papers, faunistic and preliminary taxonomic data on the gastrotrich communities along the coastline of the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were reported; among the over 40 records, the occurrence of several species new to science was highlighted. One of such new taxa is described here based on observation carried out on living and SEM prepared specimens. Pseudostomella dolichopoda sp. n. (Gastrotricha: Thaumastodermatidae) is the only species in the genus that attains 420 μm in total length, is covered by pentancres and possesses, among others, caudal pedicles up to 45 μm in length. Additional differences with co-generic taxa characterized by a pentancrous covering are discussed. Furthermore, a key to the described Pseudostomella species of the world based on easily discernible traits, visible in both living and formalin-fixed specimens, is provided.


2012 - A phylogenetic approach to species delimitation in freshwater Gastrotricha from Sweden [Articolo su rivista]
Kanneby, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Jondelius, U.
abstract

Gastrotricha is a cosmopolitan group ofaquatic invertebrates. To date, approximately 765species have been described. This study is the first todeal with species delimitation and cryptic species offreshwater Gastrotricha. Three commonly encounteredspecies, Heterolepidoderma ocellatum, Lepidochaetuszelinkai, and Lepidodermella squamata, areinvestigated for cryptic speciation. Most of thematerial is based on Swedish specimens but closelyrelated species from other parts of the world are alsoincluded. Taxonomic revisions are supported byphylogenies based on 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, andCOI mtDNA of freshwater Chaetonotidae from severalgenera and inferred from Bayesian and maximumlikelihood approaches. Heterolepidoderma ocellatumf. sphagnophilum is raised to species level, under thename H. acidophilum n. sp. Moreover, genetic databased on COI indicate large variation between twomorphologically very similar groups of Lepidodermellasquamata. The extent of cryptic speciation inL. zelinkai appears low. Based on the phylogenetichypothesis presented in this article, the new species,Lepidodermella intermedia n. sp., from northernSweden is also described. The phylogenetic hypothesisgenerated shows that Chaetonotidae is a nonmonophyleticgroup.


2012 - Check list of gastrotrichs from the Canary Islands [Articolo su rivista]
Riera, R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A total of 11 gastrotrich species have been so far recorded from the Canary archipelago. The two orders of the phylum are represented in Islands, with six macrodasyidans and five chaetonotidans species. This short check-list indicates in the Canary archipelago fauna belonging to this interstitial group is still scarcely known; it is forecasted that, future sampling campaigns especially focused on subtidal sandy seabeds shall provide many more records, and even new species of this taxonomic group.


2012 - Description and ecology of a new species of Edwardsia de Quatrefages, 1842 (Anthozoa, Actiniaria) from the St Lucia Estuary, South Africa. [Articolo su rivista]
Daly, M.; Perissinotto, R.; Laird, M.; Dyer, D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new species of the true anemone genus Edwardsia, E. isimangaliso sp. nov., is described from the St Lucia Estuary, Africa's largest estuarine lake. The species differs from its closest relatives in anatomy and cnidom and is the only species of the genus found in hypersaline waters. Its current distribution appears to be restricted to a narrow region in the middle reaches of the estuary (lower South Lake), where it has been recorded at salinity levels ranging from 21 to 55.6 psu. The species is also limited to substrata dominated by fine to very fine sand and does not occur in areas with either high silt or coarse sand content. Population densities appear to have decreased over time, with maxima over 1500 ind. m-2 recorded in 2005, but only 20 ind. m-2 in 2010. Prey items identified in its stomach include the snail Assiminea ovata and ostracods. However, stable isotope analysis showed that the main carbon sources for the anemone are the filamentous macroalga Cladophora sp. and benthic microalgae. The presence of zooxanthellae in tissues of E. isimangaliso sp. nov. suggests that the species may combine heterotrophic and autotrophic feeding modes in response to


2012 - Gastrotricha: A Marine Sister for a Freshwater Puzzle [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Dal Zotto, M.; Jondelius, U.; Hochberg, R.; Hummon, W. D.; Kanneby, T.; Rocha, C. E. F.; DAL ZOTTO, Matteo
abstract

Background: Within an evolutionary framework of Gastrotricha Marinellina flagellata and Redudasys fornerise bear specialinterest, as they are the only Macrodasyida that inhabit freshwater ecosystems. Notwithstanding, these rare animals arepoorly known; found only once (Austria and Brazil), they are currently systematised as incertae sedis. Here we report on therediscovery of Redudasys fornerise, provide an account on morphological novelties and present a hypothesis on itsphylogenetic relationship based on molecular data.Methodology/Principal Findings: Specimens were surveyed using DIC microscopy and SEM, and used to obtain the 18 SrRNA gene sequence; molecular data was analyzed cladistically in conjunction with data from 42 additional speciesbelonging to the near complete Macrodasyida taxonomic spectrum. Morphological analysis, while providing newinformation on taxonomically relevant traits (adhesive tubes, protonephridia and sensorial bristles), failed to detectelements of the male system, thus stressing the parthenogenetic nature of the Brazilian species. Phylogenetic analysis,carried out with ML, MP and Bayesian approaches, yielded topologies with strong nodal support and highly congruent witheach other. Among the supported groups is the previously undocumented clade showing the alliance between Redudasysfornerise and Dactylopodola agadasys; other strongly sustained clades include the densely sampled familiesThaumastodermatidae and Turbanellidae and most genera.Conclusions/Significance: A reconsideration of the morphological traits of Dactylopodola agadasys in light of the newinformation on Redudasys fornerise makes the alliance between these two taxa very likely. As a result, we createAnandrodasys gen. nov. to contain members of the previously described D. agadasys and erect Redudasyidae fam. nov. toreflect this novel relationship between Anandrodasys and Redudasys. From an ecological perspective, the derived position ofRedudasys, which is deeply nested within the Macrodasyida clade, unequivocally demonstrates that invasion of freshwaterby gastrotrichs has taken place at least twice, in contrast with the single event hypothesis recently put forward.


2012 - Patterns of diversity in soft-bodied meiofauna: dispersal ability and body size matter [Articolo su rivista]
Curini Galletti, M.; Artois, T.; Delogu, L.; De Smet, W. H.; Fontaneto, D.; Jondelius, U.; Leasi, F.; Martínez, A.; Meyer Wachsmuth, I.; Nilsson K:, S.; Tongiorgi, P.; Worsaae, K.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Background: Biogeographical and macroecological principles are derived from patterns of distribution in large organisms, whereas microscopic ones have often been considered uninteresting, because of their supposed wide distribution. Here, after reporting the results of an intensive faunistic survey of marine microscopic animals (meiofauna) in Northern Sardinia, we test for the effect of body size, dispersal ability, and habitat features on the patterns of distribution of several groups.Methodology/Principal findings: As a dataset we use the results of a workshop held at La Maddalena (Sardinia, Italy) in September 2010, aimed at studying selected taxa of soft-bodied meiofauna (Acoela, Annelida, Gastrotricha, Nemertodermatida, Platyhelminthes and Rotifera), in conjunction with data on the same taxa obtained during a previous workshop hosted at Tjärnö (Western Sweden) in September 2007. Using linear mixed effects models and model averaging while accounting for sampling bias and potential pseudoreplication, we found evidence that: (1) meiofaunal groups with more restricted distribution are the ones with low dispersal potential; (2) meiofaunal groups with higher probability of finding new species for science are the ones with low dispersal potential; (3) the proportion of the global species pool of each meiofaunal group present in each area at the regional scale is negatively related to body size, and positively related to their occurrence in the endobenthic habitat.Conclusion/significance: Our macroecological analysis of meiofauna, in the framework of the ubiquity hypothesis for microscopic organisms, indicates that not only body size but mostly dispersal ability and also occurrence in the endobenthic habitat are important correlates of diversity for these understudied animals, with different importance at different spatial scales. Furthermore, since the Western Mediterranean is one of the best-studied areas in the world, the large number of undescribed species (37%) highlights that the census of marine meiofauna is still very far from being complete.


2012 - The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity [Articolo su rivista]
Appeltans, W.; Ahyong, S. T.; Anderson, G.; Angel, M. V.; Artois, T.; Bailly, N.; Bamber, R.; Barber, A.; Bartsch, I.; Berta, A.; Błażewicz Paszkowycz, M.; Bock, P.; Boxshall, G.; Boyko, C. B.; Nunes Brandão, S.; Bray, R. A.; Bruce, N. L.; Cairns, S. D.; Chan, T. Y.; Cheng, L.; Collins, A. G.; Cribb, T.; Curini Galletti, M.; Dahdouh Guebas, F.; Davie, P. J. F.; Dawson, M. N.; De Clerck, O.; Decock, W.; De Grave, S.; de Voogd, N. J.; Domning, D. P.; Emig, C. C.; Erséus, C.; Eschmeyer, W.; Fauchald, K.; Fautin, D. F.; Feist, S. W.; Fransen, C. H. J. M.; Furuya, H.; Garcia Alvarez, O.; Gerken, S.; Gibson, D.; Gittenberger, A.; Gofas, S.; Gómez Daglio, L.; Gordon, D. P.; Guiry, M. D.; Hernandez, F.; Hoeksema, B. W.; Hopcroft, R. R.; Jaume, D.; Kirk, P.; Koedam, N.; Koenemann, S.; Kolb, J. B.; Kristensen, R. M.; Kroh, A.; Lambert, G.; Lazarus, D. B.; Lemaitre, R.; Longshaw, M.; Lowry, J.; Macpherson, E.; Madin, L. P.; Mah, C.; Mapstone, G.; Mclaughlin, P. A.; Meland, J. M. K.; Messing, C. G.; Mills, C. E.; Molodtsova, T. N.; Mooi, R.; Neuhaus, B.; Ng, P. K. L.; Nielsen, C.; Norenburg, J.; Opresko, D. M.; Osawa, M.; Paulay, G.; Perrin, W.; Pilger, J. F.; Poore, G. C. B.; Pugh, P.; Read, G. B.; Reimer, J. D.; Rius, M.; Rocha, R. M.; Saiz Salinas, J. I.; Scarabino, V.; Schierwater, B.; Schmidt Rhaesa, A.; Schnabel, K. E.; Schotte, M.; Schuchert, P.; Schwabe, E.; Segers, H.; Self Sullivan, C.; Shenkar, N.; Siegel, V.; Sterrer, W.; Stöhr, S.; Swalla, B.; Tasker, M. L.; Thuesen, E. V.; Timm, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Turon, X.; Tyler, S.; Uetz, P.; van der Land, J.; Vanhoorne, B.; van Ofwegen, L. P.; van Soest, R. W. M.; Vanaverbeke, J.; Walker Smith, G.; Walter, T. C.; Warren, A.; Williams, G. C.; Wilson, S. P.; Costello, M. J.
abstract

Background: The question of how many marine species exist is important because it provides a metric for how much we do and do not know about life in the oceans. We have compiled the first register of the marine species of the world and used this baseline to estimate how many more species, partitioned among all major eukaryotic groups, may be discovered. Results: There are w226,000 eukaryotic marine species described. More species were described in the past decade (w20,000) than in any previous one. The number of authors describing new species has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of new species described in the past six decades. We report that there are w170,000 synonyms, that 58,000–72,000 species are collected but not yet described, and that 482,000–741,000 more species have yet to be sampled. Molecular methods may add tens of thousands of cryptic species. Thus, there may be 0.7–1.0 million marine species. Past rates of description of new species indicate there may be 0.5 6 0.2 million marine species. On average 37% (median 31%) of species in over 100 recent field studies around the world might be new to science. Conclusions: Currently, between one-third and two-thirds of marine species may be undescribed, and previous estimates of there being well over one million marine species appear highly unlikely. More species than ever before are being described annually by an increasing number of authors. If the current trend continues, most species will be discovered this century.


2011 - Approccio molecolare alla risoluzione di sistematizzazioni controverse: il caso di Acanthodasys caribbeanensis Hochberg & Atherton (Gastrotricha: Thaumastodermatidae) [Poster]
Ghiviriga, C S; DAL ZOTTO, M; Nicolini, V; Todaro, M A
abstract

Lo status tassonomico di alcuni gastrotrichi caraibici recentemente descritti come Acanthodasys caribbeanensis è incerto poiché alcune importati caratteristiche morfologiche li avvicinerebbero piuttosto al genere Diplodasys. La scoperta in Sardegna di gastrotrichi simili ha offerto l'opportunità di intraprendere uno studio filogenetico su base molecolare al fine di chiarirne la collocazione sistematica. I gastrotrichi sardi sono stati rinvenuti nell'isola di Budelli nel settembre 2010 a 30 metri di profondità. Le ricostruzioni filogenetiche derivano da analisi MP, ML e inferenza Bayesiana condotte su sequenze del gene 18S rDNA provenienti dagli esemplari sardi e 40 altre specie inclusa A. caribbeanensis raccolta nelle US-Virgin Islands. Gli alberi filogenetici ottenuti mostrano topologie ampiamente sovrapponibili e in generale ben supportate statisticamente. Ipotesi, classiche e recenti, circa i rapporti filogenetici all'interno della famiglia Thaumastodermatidae risultano confermate. Nell'ambito dei Diplodasyinae, Acanthodasys caribbeanensis e gli individui sardi appaiono riuniti in un sottoclade mai strettamente alleato con Acanthodasys. Nell'indicare una maggiore affinità degli animali investigati con specie del genere Diplodasys i risultati rendono manifesta l'opportunità di provvedere ad una loro ri-collocazione sistematica. Prima di intraprendere i passi formali riteniamo tuttavia necessario aggiungere robustezza alle analisi migliorando il campionamento tassonomico con il coinvolgimento di altre specie di Diplodasyinae.


2011 - First records of Gastrotricha from South Africa, with description of a new species of Halichaetonotus (Chaetonotida, Chaetonotidae) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Dal Zotto, M.; Bownes, S. J.; Perissinotto, R.; DAL ZOTTO, Matteo
abstract

During a survey of the biota of the St. Lucia Estuary in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa, a number of Gastrotricha were found among samples of meiofauna. Fresh, marine sediment yielded several specimens belonging to a total of seven species. Of these, two are already known from other regions (i.e., Dactylopodola australiensis and Heteroxenotrichula squamosa), one is described as new to science (Halichaetonotussanctaeluciae sp. n.), while the remaining four (Pseudostomella sp., Halichaetonotus sp.1, Halichaetonotus sp. 2, Xenotrichula sp.) require further collections and analysis, in order to establish the extent of their affiliation to species already described. General appearance, shape of hydrofoil scale and the occurrenceof three long spines on the dorsal side make the new species most closely related to H. australis and H. marivagus. The key differences from these taxa and between Halichaetonotus sanctaeluciae sp. n. and H. aculifer are discussed.


2011 - Gastrotricha [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Rocha, C. E. F.
abstract

Non presente


2011 - Meiofauna [Capitolo/Saggio]
Rocha, C. E. F.; Kihara, T. C.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Hooge, M.; Jonnson, R.
abstract

Non disponibile


2011 - Meiofauna Marina Volume 19 [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Schmidt Rhaesa, A; George, K. H.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract


2011 - Phylogeny of Thaumastodermatidae (Gastrotricha:Macrodasyida) Inferred from Nuclear and Mitochondrial Sequence Data [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Kånneby, T.; Dal Zotto, M.; Jondelius, U.
abstract

Background: Phylogenetic relationships within Gastrotricha are poorly known. Attempts to shed light on this subject usingmorphological traits have led to hypotheses lacking satisfactory statistical support; it seemed therefore that a differentapproach was needed.Methodology/Principal Findings: In this paper we attempt to elucidate the relationships within the taxonomically vastfamily Thaumastodermatidae (Macrodasyida) using molecular sequence data. The study includes representatives of all theextant genera of the family and for the first time uses a multi-gene approach to infer evolutionary liaisons withinGastrotricha. The final data set comprises sequences of three genes (18S, 28S rDNA and COI mtDNA) from 41 species,including 29 thaumastodermatids, 11 non-thaumastodermatid macrodasyidans and a single chaetonotidan. Molecular datawas analyzed as a combined set of 3 genes and as individual genes, using Bayesian and maximum likelihood approaches.Two different outgroups were used: Xenotrichula intermedia (Chaetonotida) and members of the putative basalDactylopodola (Macrodasyida). Thaumastodermatidae and all other sampled macrodasyidan families were foundmonophyletic except for Cephalodasyidae. Within Thaumastodermatidae Diplodasyinae and Thaumastodermatinae aremonophyletic and so are most genera. Oregodasys turns out to be the most basal group within Thaumastodermatinae inanalyses of the concatenated data set as well as in analyses of the nuclear genes. Thaumastoderma appears as the sistertaxon to the remaining species. Surprisingly, Tetranchyroderma is non-monophyletic in our analyses as one group of speciesclusters with Ptychostomella while another appears as the sister group of Pseudostomella.Conclusions/Significance: Results in general agree with the current classification; however, a revision of the more derivedthaumastodermatid taxa seems necessary. We also found that the ostensible COI sequences from several species do notconform to the general invertebrate or any other published mitochondrial genetic code; they may be mitochondriallyderived nuclear genes (numts), or one or more modifications of the mitochondrial genetic code within Gastrotricha.


2011 - Reproductive system of the genus Crasiella (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ferraguti, M.; Balsamo, M.
abstract

Crasiella diplura from Sweden and Crasiella sp. from Italy were studied alive and with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The two species are simultaneous hermaphrodites and share the same reproductive system lay-out: paired ovaries extend along the posterior part of the intestine and join mid-dorsally, while bilateral,club-shaped testes lie at the sides of the anterior gut, extending as deferentia that fuse on the mid-ventral plane and open into a single pore; gametes mature in a caudocephalicand centripetal direction. The bulky, sac-like, frontal organ is lined by a simple epithelium and lies dorsolaterally to the intestine, on the left side of the body.The spindle-shaped caudal organ is musculo-glandular and is located ventrolaterally to the gut on the right side. It is characterized by the presence of a roughly Y-shapedinternal channel that opens into two pores close to each other, which function for the intake and outlet of the (auto)sperm, respectively. The spermatozoa, which arepeculiar and similar in the two species, are characterized by a long and complex acrosome consisting of four ultrastructurally distinct regions, three of which findequivalence in other gastrotrich species. The flagellum lacks a striated cylinder. Anatomy and ultrastructure enable us to hypothesize a modality of sperm transfer in Crasiellathat is similar to that observed in Macrodasys.


2011 - The spermatozoon of Thaumastoderma moebjergi with the description of the sperm model for the family Thaumastodermatidae (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Marotta, R.; Balsamo, M.; Ferraguti, M.; Fondello, C.; Guidi, L.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The spermatozoon of Thaumastoderma moebjergi (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida, Thaumastodermatidae) was described,and its structural features were compared to those of the other thaumastodermatid sperm models so far described.Although many of the sperm characters were present in different macrodasyidan species, the following completeset of characters was only found in all the thaumastodermatid spermatozoa at now described: a tubular structurewithin the acrosome formed by a pile of disks, the mitochondria arranged inside the nuclear spring, the striatedcylinder in the flagellum, and a perinuclear helix. Thus the family Thaumastodermatidae appears uniform as faras sperm characters are considered.


2011 - Ubiquity of microscopic animals? Evidence from the traditional morphological approach in species identification [Capitolo/Saggio]
Artois, T.; Fontaneto, D.; Hummon, W. D.; Mcinnes, S. J.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Sorensen, M. V.; Zullini, A.
abstract

Zoologists always hope to find weird and interesting new animals in exotic places. Over the last few centuries, scientific expeditions in remote places outside Europe have indeed discovered new species and even higher taxa of vertebrates, insects and other macroscopic animals, completely different from the ones previously known in the home country. In contrast, scientists working on microscopic animals, looking at samples from remote areas, have mostly found organisms that could be ascribed to species and genera already known in their home country. Microscopic animals have thus been considered not interesting in biogeography, as their distribution may not be limited by geography.Are microscopic animals really widely distributed? Is their cosmopolitism an actual biological property or only a common misconception based on false assumptions and evidence? Is the scenario more complex than the claimed clear-cut difference between micro- and macro-organisms? This chapter will review all the faunistic knowledge gathered so far on the global distribution of microscopic animals like gastrotrichs, rotifers and tardigrades, which are all smaller than 2 mm. Moreover, we will deal with microscopic free living species in other groups of animals like nematodes and flatworms, which have both micro- and macroscopic species. The focus will be on species identification from traditional taxonomy based on morphology, whereas the following chapter will deal with more recent evidence gathered from analyses on molecular phylogeny and phylogeography from the same groups.


2010 - A new Tetranchyroderma (Gastrotricha, Thaumastodermatidae) with triancres from the Mediterranean Sea. [Articolo su rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, Matteo; Ghiviriga, S.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

As part of a project dealing with the meiofauna diversity of three Italian Marine Protected Areas (MPA), a new species of gastrotrich is described. Tetranchyrodermn aapton n. sp. is characterized by the cuticular armature made up of triancres whose shape approaches those of T.tribulosumcrathercthanctheancresof T. adeleaeorT.gausancrum the only other congeners exhibiting a triancrous covering. The new species is from the MPA Capo Caccia-Isola Piana (Northwestern Sardinia, Italy) where it was found in organogenous sediment collected at 20 m water depth,together with 17 other gastrotrich species, most of which appear undescribed. The results call for widening thesurvey to deeper sediments, usually neglected in gastrotrich faunistic surveys.


2010 - An integrate approach to the description and systematization of a new genus and species of marine Gastrotricha [Abstract in Rivista]
Leasi, F; DAL ZOTTO, M; Ghiviriga, C S; Todaro, M A
abstract


2010 - An integrate approach to the description and systematization of a new genus and species of marine Gastrotricha [Poster]
Leasi, F; DAL ZOTTO, M; Ghiviriga, C S; Todaro, M A
abstract

In sandy samples from South-West Thailand we found numerous macrodasyidan gastrotrichs belonging to an undescribed species. The abundance and originality of the specimens prompted us to undertake a deep survey of both morphological and molecular traits aiming at the unbiased systematization of the new taxon. Using several microscopical techniques (DIC, SEM and CLSM) we investigated the external and internal anatomy plus the muscular and nervous systems. The Thai gastrotrichs are vermiform, up to 800 μm in total length; the head is well defined and, provided at its posterior edges with a pair of leaf-like sensorial organs; the posterior half of the body appears slightly wider than the anterior region and terminates in a single lobe. The adhesive apparatus includes tubes of the anterior, ventrolateral, posterior and dorsal series. Pharynx is about ¼ of the total body length and shows pores at its posterior 3/4. Adults exhibit maturing eggs and a bulky, muscular caudal organ but, surprisingly, not the frontal organ nor the (usual) spermatozoa. Falloidin reaction indicated that the muscular system organization follows the usual macrodasyidan plan. The nervous system, revealed with antibodies against RF-amide and serotonin (5HT), is present in the central, peripheral and stomatogastrich compartments. The brain consists of paired RF-positive perikarya connected by three dorsal- and a single ventral commissures, plus paired 5HT-positive cells joined by a dorsal commissure. Paired RF- and 5HT-positive neurites run ventrally along all the body length and coalesced at the posterior end. While the anatomical details of the new species appear unique among known genera, ongoing molecular analysis will help (us) clarify its phylogenetic position within the order.


2010 - Analytic taxonomy and notes on marine, brackish-water and estuarine Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Marine Gastrotricha, both Macrodasyida and Chaetonotida, are the subject of an analytic review, citing taxonomic status ofnames, authorships of taxa, and those responsible for changes, in accordance with the International Code of ZoologicalNomenclature, 4th ed. (1999). Notes are included with regard to taxonomic usage so as to guide workers in the future.Among the proposed novelties are: within Macrodasyida, to restrict the family Lepidodasyidae Remane, 1927 to the genusLepidodasys Remane, 1926, and to establish a new family, Cephalodasyidae with Cephalodasys Remane, 1926 as itstype-species to house the remaining genera and species that have been contained in the polyphyletic familyLepidodasyidae. Hemidasys agaso Claparède, 1867 is considered extinct, and the new name Tetranchyrodermaantenniphorum is proposed for Tetranchyroderma antennatum Luporini, Magagnini & Tongiorgi, 1973; in addition, fivespecies are here considered to be species inquirendae: Dactylopodola weilli d'Hondt, 1965, Paradasys nipponensisSudzuki, 1976, Macrodasys indicus Kutty & Nair, 1969. Tetranchyroderma forceps d’Hondt & Balsamo, 2009 andTurbanella plana (Giard, 1904b). Among Chaetonotida: the Xenotrichula velox-species group Ruppert, 1979 and theXenotrichula intermedia-species group Ruppert, 1979 were given each the rank of subgenus. Chaetonotus pleuracanthusRemane, 1926 is rejected as a synonym for Chaetonotus marinus Giard, 1904; Chaetonotus somniculosus Mock, 1979 istransferred to the genus Halichaetonotus, the new name Halichaetonotus euromarinus is proposed for Halichaetonotusspinosus Mock, 1979, and Xenotrichula carolinensis Ruppert, 1979 is re-established. Heteroxenotrichula variocirratad'Hondt, 1966 is here considered to be species inquirenda.


2010 - Fish farming effects on meiofauna: focus on copepods and kinorhynchs [Abstract in Rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

The expansion of intensive marine aquaculture caused a general concern about possible adverse effects on the ecosystem health; meiofauna has been proposed as bioindicator to monitor the impact of such activities on benthic biota; however, results appear contrasting, so far. The present research analyzed a fish farm located in Sicily (Southern Italy), producing ca 450 tons of Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) per year. Samples were collected over two farming cycles at different distances from the cages, following the direction of the dominant sea current. Effects on meiofauna community structure were investigated by means univariate and multivariate analyses. In the area, meiobenthic community was constituted by more than 20 major groups, the most abundant being the Nematoda, Harpacticoida and Kinorhyncha. Fish farm activity caused a significant increase of nematodes density beneath the cages along with a sharp increase in abundance of two species of Cletodidae (Harpacticoida) and the noticeable decrease of kinorhynchs under and in the proximity of the cages (0-25 m). SIMPER analysis pointed out that the main contribution to the dissimilarity among samples, grouped according to the distance from the cages, was due to kinorhynchs and nauplii. ANOSIM showed a clear distinction between the community below the cages and those of other investigated sites. Finally, BIOENV analysis found a significant correlation among meiofauna, total organic matter and sulphide content in bottom sediment. The high kinorhynch diversity allowed the use of taxonomic biodiversity indexes for this group in this research and initiate a larger inventory of species of this group along the Italian coastline. The study indicates an impact of fish farming on meiofauna even though restricted to a limited area and encourages to further research on copepods and kinorhynchs species as indicators of organic enrichment.


2010 - Fish farming effects on meiofauna: focus on copepods and kinorhynchs [Poster]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

The expansion of intensive marine aquaculture caused a general concern about possible adverse effects on the ecosystem health; meiofauna has been proposed as bioindicator to monitor the impact of such activities on benthic biota; however, results appear contrasting, so far. The present research analyzed a fish farm located in Sicily (Southern Italy), producing ca 450 tons of Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) per year. Samples were collected over two farming cycles at different distances from the cages, following the direction of the dominant sea current. Effects on meiofauna community structure were investigated by means univariate and multivariate analyses. In the area, meiobenthic community was constituted by more than 20 major groups, the most abundant being the Nematoda, Harpacticoida and Kinorhyncha. Fish farm activity caused a significant increase of nematodes density beneath the cages along with a sharp increase in abundance of two species of Cletodidae (Harpacticoida) and the noticeable decrease of kinorhynchs under and in the proximity of the cages (0-25 m). SIMPER analysis pointed out that the main contribution to the dissimilarity among samples, grouped according to the distance from the cages, was due to kinorhynchs and nauplii. ANOSIM showed a clear distinction between the community below the cages and those of other investigated sites. Finally, BIOENV analysis found a significant correlation among meiofauna, total organic matter and sulphide content in bottom sediment. The high kinorhynch diversity allowed the use of taxonomic biodiversity indexes for this group in this research and initiate a larger inventory of species of this group along the Italian coastline. The study indicates an impact of fish farming on meiofauna even though restricted to a limited area and encourages to further research on copepods and kinorhynchs species as indicators of organic enrichment.


2010 - Harpacticoida. In checklist della Flora e della Fauna delle specie marine italiane (parte II). [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Checcherelli, V. U.
abstract

L'abstract non è disponibile


2010 - Meiofauna of the Adriatic Sea: present knowledge and future perspectives. [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Albertelli, G.; Ceccherelli, V. U.; Coccioni, R.; Colangelo, M. A.; Curini Galletti, M.; Danovaro, R.; D'Addabbo, R.; De Leonardis, C.; Fabiano, M.; Frontalini, F.; Gallo, M.; Gambi, C.; Guidi, L.; Moreno, M.; Pusceddu, A.; Sandulli, R.; Semprucci, F.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, P.
abstract

Owing to technical problems and difficult taxonomic identification, meiofauna have been generally less studied than macrofauna. However, the role of meiofauna in marine ecosystem functioning, and their effective and rapid response to anthropogenic alterations and climatic changes have recently been acknowledged, leading to increasing scientific and applied interest. At present, systematic and biogeographic knowledge of the meiofauna of the Adriatic Sea is extremely heterogeneous, because most of the data are limited to a few taxa and the sampled areas are scattered, being located mainly in the coastal areas of the northern basin. Analysis of the composition and distribution of meiobenthic groups in the Adriatic Sea highlights the presence of several endemisms. Meiofauna also include bioindicator taxa, which allow assessment of the quality of marine sediments; this is particularly useful in systems characterised by the synergistic effect of different forms of anthropogenic impact, such as the Adriatic basin. Current knowledge about the ecology of the meiofauna and use of this component in applied ecological studies, along with the availability of a standardised protocol for the analysis of meiofaunal assemblages, allows us to recommend formal acknowledgement of the need to integrate information derived from the analysis of macrofauna with information derived from the study of meiofauna. Future research based on the simultaneous use of both of these benthic components will allow faster and more accurate evaluation of the response of coastal marine ecosystems to anthropogenic disturbance


2010 - Probing gastrotrich taxonomy with DNA barcoding [Abstract in Rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Ghiviriga, C S; Kånneby, T; Jondelius, U; Todaro, M A
abstract

Gastrotrichs represent a phylum of basal metazoans, living both in marine and freshwater environments, dimensionally comprised between 80 µm and 3 mm. Though taxonomic and biogeographic knowledge has been improved in the last years, little is known about the molecular aspects of this group. The aim of this study was to analyze these organisms by means of DNA barcoding which is a well-known technique consisting in the use of a gene sequence to affiliate an organism to a known species or to a new taxon. In this research, mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I (COI) was used to identify gastrotrichs. It’s important to notice that no Gastrotrich COI sequence has been deposited in GenBank so far. Sampling of different populations of Turbanella cornuta and Paraturbanella teissieri, species considered to have a wide distribution, was carried out in Adriatic, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy), Baltic Sea (Sweden), Atlantic Ocean (Canary Islands) and Arabian Gulf (Kuwait). DNA was extracted from some specimens, COI sequence amplified through PCR, and in the end the product was purified and sequenced. The obtained sequences were analyzed with NJ, MP and Bayesian Inference. It was possible to group in monophyletic clades, morphologically similar specimens belonging both to the same population and to diversely geographically distant populations. In particular, analyses revealed that specimens of T. cornuta from Adriatic, Ligurian, and Baltic Sea and Arabian Gulf can be considered distinct species, although similar. These results show that barcoding allows a more precise specific identification of Gastrotrichs; therefore this technique appears to be clearly useful when dealing with cryptic species, not easily distinguishable just by means of morphological characters. The wide application of this method will be of true interest also in reconsidering on new bases the paradoxical cosmopolitan distribution of several species.


2010 - The gastrotrich community of a northAdriatic Sea site, with a redescription of Musellifer profundus (Chaetonotida: Muselliferidae). [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, F.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

During a survey of the marine meiobenthos in a predominantly muddy area, 40 km south of Venice (northern Adriatic Sea,Italy), 11 species of gastrotrichs were recorded. Gastrotrichs were found in 11 out of the 16 investigated stations, with densities(mean + standard deviation) ranging from 0.6 + 0.5 to 97.7 + 71.2 ind./10 cm2. The community was dominated byMusellifer profundus, which made up 24.5% of the entire gastrotrich assemblage and reached in a single station the abundancepeak of 18.3 ind./10 cm2. The finding bears relevance to the biogeography and ecology of several species. The presence ofnumerous specimens of the rare M. profundus allowed new insights into the arrangement and functioning of the hermaphroditicsexual apparatus in this phylogenetically important genus, for which such data are scanty. The new information willcertainly be useful in evolutionary studies aimed at reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships within Gastrotricha, whileoffering at the same time additional morphological traits to be used in reliable species identification. Although only threespecies of Musellifer have been described so far, there are several others awaiting a formal affiliation, a task that willbenefit from this new information.


2010 - Yessotoxin inhibits phagocytic activity of macrophages. [Articolo su rivista]
Orsi, Carlotta Francesca; Colombari, Bruna; Callegari, Federica; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ardizzoni, Andrea; Rossini, Gian Paolo; Blasi, Elisabetta; Peppoloni, Samuele
abstract

Yessotoxin (YTX) is a sulphated polyether compound produced by some species of dinoflagellate algae, that can be accumulated in bivalve mollusks and ingested by humans upon eating contaminated shellfish. Experiments in mice have demonstrated the lethal effect of YTX after intraperitoneal injection, whereas its oral administration has only limited acute toxicity, coupled with an alteration of plasma membrane protein turnover in the colon of the animals. In vitro studies have shown that this effect is due to the inhibition of endocytosis induced by the toxin. In this work, we investigated the effects of YTX on phagocytosis by using the J774 macrophage cell line. We found that macrophages exposed to 10 or 1nM YTX display a reduced phagocytic activity against Candida albicans; moreover, phagosome maturation is also inhibited in these cells. Such results were confirmed with resident peritoneal macrophages from normal mice. The inhibition of both phagocytosis and phagosome maturation likely involves cytoskeletal alterations, since a striking rearrangement of the F-actin organization occurs in YTX-treated J774 macrophages. Surprisingly, YTX also enhances cytokine production (TNF-alpha, MIP-1alpha and MIP-2) by J774 macrophages. Overall, our results show that low doses of YTX significantly affect both effector and secretory functions of macrophages.


2009 - A NEW SPECIES OF ANTYGOMONAS (KINORHYNCHA: CYCLORHAGIDA) FROM THE TUSCANY COAST [Poster]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

A new species of the rare genus Antygomonas (Kinorhyncha) is reported from the Meloria shoals (Leghorn, Italy). While the finding represents the first record of this genus in Italian waters, the high number of specimens recovered will contribute to the development of molecular tools useful for species identification, a difficult task especially when dealing with juveniles.


2009 - A new species of Aspidiophorus (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) from the Russian Far East with a key to marine species of the genus. [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; DAL ZOTTO, Matteo; Maiorova, A. S.; Adrianov, A. V.
abstract

The Russian gastrotrich fauna is virtually unknown, particularly the marine fauna. In the ocean, investigations have beenrestricted to the White Sea, from where only three fully described species have been reported so far. In this study we describea new species of Aspidiophorus found in a sandy sample collected from off of Vladivostok (Peter the Great Bay, Sea of Japan).Aspidiophorus oculatus n. sp. is the first marine chaetonotid gastrotrich described from Russia and the first representative of theorder Chaetonotida reported from the Sea of Japan. Specimens of the new species are characterized by a body up to 147.5 mmin total length; enveloped by 57 alternating columns of 6570 keeled, elongate scales. Pharyngeo-intestinal junction at U27;the head bears cephalion, hypostomion, pleuria and a pair of eye-spots; the furca is 20 mm long including the 12-mm longadhesive tube; the ventral interciliary field is naked, with the exception of a pair of elliptical, keeled scales occurring near theanus. Morphological differences between the new species and the other 13 marine con-generic taxa are discussed. A key tothe known marine species of the world based on easily identifiable traits, visible in both living and formalin-fixed specimens isprovided.


2009 - Italian marine Gastrotricha: VI. Seven new species of Macrodasyida [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Seven species new to science are described from Italian waters, some of which also occur along nearby coasts: Macrodasys acrosorus n. sp. and M. digronus n. sp. in the family Macrodasyidae, Acanthodasys flabellicaudus n. sp., Diplodasys sanctimariae n. sp., Tetranchyroderma hyponiglarum n. sp., T. korynetum n. sp. and T. oligopentancrum n. sp. in the family Thaumastodermatidae.


2009 - Meiofauna of the Koster-area, results from a workshop at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences (Tjärnö, Sweden) [Articolo su rivista]
Willems, W. R.; Curini Galletti, M.; Ferrero, T. J.; Fontaneto, D.; Heiner, I.; Huys, R.; Ivanenko, V. N.; Kristensen, R. M.; Kanneby, T.; Macnaughton, M. O.; Martínez Arbizu, P.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Sterrer, W.; Jondelius, U.
abstract

During a two-week workshop held at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences on Tjärnö, an island on theSwedish west-coast, meiofauna was studied in a large variety of habitats using a wide range of sampling techniques.Almost 100 samples coming from littoral beaches, rock pools and different types of sublittoral sand- andmudflats yielded a total of 430 species, a conservative estimate. The main focus was on acoels, proseriate andrhabdocoel flatworms, rotifers, nematodes, gastrotrichs, copepods and some smaller taxa, like nemertodermatids,gnathostomulids, cycliophorans, dorvilleid polychaetes, priapulids, kinorhynchs, tardigrades and some otherflatworms. As this is a preliminary report, some species still have to be positively identified and/or described, as157 species were new for the Swedish fauna and 27 are possibly new to science. Each taxon is discussed separatelyand accompanied by a detailed species list.


2009 - Meiofaunal cryptic species revealed by confocal microscopy: The case of Xenotrichula intermedia (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, F.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The phylum Gastrotricha includes about 750species of meiobenthic marine and freshwater species thatare often widely distributed. The microscopic size, shortlife cycle, low motility of adults, and the absence of larvalstages normally required for dispersal raise doubts aboutthe putative cosmopolitan distribution of many of gastrotrichspecies. The phenomenon of cosmopolitanism isacknowledged for all major meiobenthic taxa (“the meiofaunaparadox”) and can be explained, at least in part, withthe existence of sibling species, so far identiWed primarilyby molecular analysis. In this paper, we report thediscovery of sibling species in the marine chaetonotidanXenotrichula intermedia using confocal laser scanningmicroscopy (CLSM). A total of 40 specimens collectedfrom two geographically separate populations, the Mediterranean(Adriatic Sea) and the Arabian Gulf (Kuwait), wereinvestigated. Fifteen specimens of each population werestudied in vivo with a contrast interference microscope(DIC) in order to obtain the main morphometric parameters;ten other animals (Wve in each population) were Wxedand marked with Xuorescent phalloidin for the observationof their muscular systems under CLSM. The metrics andmeristic data of the two populations fall within the range ofmeasures recognized for the species. Pairwise comparisons(t-test) in general did not reveal statistically signiWcantdiVerences between the traits of specimens belonging to the two populations; moreover, multivariate analyses (clusterandMDS analysis) were unable to separate clearly theMediterranean from the Arabian specimens. In contrast, anexamination of their muscular systems revealed cleardissimilarities between the two geographic groups. In particular,while the Italian specimens possessed incompletecircular bands and dorsoventrally orientated muscles thatare partially inserted into the basal lamina of the cuticle, inboth splanchnic- and somatic positions, their Arabian counterpartsshowed partial dorsoventral bands and completecircular muscles that surround the entire body of the animalin the same corresponding positions. Additional diVerencesin the position of helicoidal bands (present in a more anteriorlocation in the Italian specimens) are noted betweenMediterranean and Arabian specimens. Since the investigatedanimals share a similar interstitial habitat, a workinghypothesis connects the diVerences in the musculature topossible diVerences in the reproductive modality of specimensbetween the two populations.


2009 - One new species and records of Ichthydium Ehrenberg, 1830 (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotida) from Sweden with a key to the genus [Articolo su rivista]
Kanneby, T.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Jondelius, U.
abstract

The freshwater gastrotrich fauna of Sweden is poorly known. Only seven species of freshwater gastrotrichs have been reported so far. This paper is the first in a series of contributions about the Swedish freshwater gastrotrich fauna. Here we describe one new species, Ichthydium skandicum n. sp., from Jamtland, northern Sweden. The new species falls within the boundary of the subgenus Forficulichthys and is morphologically closest to Ichthydium tanytrichum from which it can be differentiated based on the presence of four pairs of dorsal, keeled scales in the posterior trunk region. Moreover, we provide morphometric data for three additional Ichthydium species: I. diacanthum, I. squamigerum and I. tanytrichum, Italian species all of which are reported for the first time outside Italy. Considering the accompanying fauna, a total of thirteen freshwater Gastrotricha are reported for the first time from Sweden. Finally we present a dichotomous key for Ichthydium along with distributional data of the species considered


2009 - Una nuova specie di Antygomonas (Kinorhyncha: Cyclorhagida) dalla costa toscana [Articolo su rivista]
Dal Zotto, M; Todaro, M A
abstract

A new species of the rare genus Antygomonas (Kinorhyncha) is reported from the Meloria shoals (Leghorn, Italy). While the finding represents the first record of this genus in Italian waters, the high number of specimens recovered will contribute to the development of molecular tools useful for species identification, a difficult task especially when dealing with juveniles.


2009 - Unusual spermatozoa and reproductive modalities of Xenodasys eknomios (Gastrotricha: Xenodasyidae) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Ferraguti, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Pierboni, L.; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The rare macrodasyidan Xenodasys eknomios is the first member of the genus to be found in the Mediterranean Sea and thefourth species known worldwide. As Xenodasys has proved to be at the base of the Macrodasyida clade, we provide new dataon the reproductive system and spermatozoa to try and shed light on the ground pattern of gastrotrich reproduction. Thehermaphroditic system of X. eknomios consists of two testes with ventrolateral pores and two caudal ovaries. A sac-likefrontal organ, generally containing a spermatophore, is enveloped by a basal lamina and attached to the body wall bymuscular fibres, appearing as a permanent structure. The spermatophore contains mature, filiform, spermatozoa, eachcomposed of acrosome, spiralized nucleus, connecting piece and flagellum. The complex acrosome is the predominantelement and forms the axis of the sperm. Most of the acrosome, is surrounded by two helixes, the external one is the nucleusand the internal one is a crystalline-like ribbon structure. The peculiar acrosome–nucleus complex, and the long connectingpiece appear as autapomorphies. The structural plans of the reproductive system and the spermatozoa support the currentsystematization of Xenodasyidae and provide evidence for a possible sperm transfer modality in these species.


2008 - An overview and a dichotomous key to genera of the phylum Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Hummon, W. D.
abstract

Gastrotricha are microscopic (0.06-3.0 mm in body length) free-living, acoelomate, aquatic worms, characterised bya meiobenthic life style. In marine habitats they are mainly interstitial, whereas in fresh waters they are ubiquitousas a component of periphyton and benthos and to a more limited extend also of the plankton. The phylum is cosmopolitanwith about 700 described species grouped into two orders: Macrodasyida, with some 250 strap-shapedspecies, all but two of which are marine or estuarine, and Chaetonotida with some 450 tenpin-shaped species,two thirds of which are freshwater. Macrodasyida include 7 families and 32 genera, whereas Chaetonotida counts8 families and 30 genera. This key includes several recently described taxa, namely Xenodasyidae, Muselliferidae,Chordodasiopsis and Diuronotus.


2008 - Cycliophora. In Relini, G. (Ed) Checklist della flora e della fauna dei mari italiani [Articolo su rivista]
DAL ZOTTO, Matteo; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

non disponibile


2008 - Gastrotricha. In Relini, G. (Ed) Checklist della flora e della fauna dei mari italiani [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, P.
abstract

non presente


2008 - Loricifera. In Relini, G. (Ed) Checklist della flora e della fauna dei mari italiani [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

non presente


2008 - Priapulida. In Relini, G. (Ed) Checklist della flora e della fauna dei mari italiani [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

non presente


2008 - The muscular system of Musellifer delamarei (Renaud-Mornant, 1968) and other chaetonotidans with implications for the phylogeny and systematisation of the Paucitubulatina (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, F.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

We studied comparatively the muscle organization of several gastrotrich species, aiming at shedding some light onthe evolutionary relationships among the taxa of the suborder Paucitubulatina. Under confocal laser scanningmicroscope, the circular muscles were present in the splanchnic position as incomplete circular rings in Muselliferdelamarei (Chaetonotidae) and Xenotrichula intermedia (Xenotrichulidae) and as dorsoventral bands in Xenotrichulapunctata, Heteroxenotrichula squamosa and Draculiciteria tesselata (Xenotrichulidae); in the somaticposition, M. delamarei shares the presence of dorsoventral muscles with all the Xenotrichulidae, in contrast withthe remaining Chaetonotidae that lack these muscles. Maximum parsimony analysis of the muscular charactersconfirmed monophyly of Paucitubulatina and Xenotrichulidae, while the Chaetonotidae was paraphyletic, with theexclusion of Musellifer, which is the most basal genus within the Paucitubulatina. Xenotrichulidae is the sistertaxon to Chaetonotidae, which in turn has Polymerurus as the most basal taxon. In general, the results agree withrecent phylogenetic inferences based on molecular characters and support the hypothesis that, within Paucitubulatina,dorsoventral muscles are plesiomorphies retained in marine, interstitial, hermaphroditic gastrotrichs.Dorsoventral muscles were subsequently lost during changes in lifestyle and reproduction modality that took placewith the invasion of the freshwater environment. This new information prompted us to reconsider the systematizationof Chaetonotidae, proposing the establishment of Muselliferidae fam. nov. to include the genera Muselliferand Diuronotus.


2008 - The unique gravireceptor organs of Pleurodasys helgolandicus (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Marotta, R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ferraguti, M.
abstract

The drumstick-like organs of the marine interstitialgastrotrich Pleurodasys helgolandicus Remane, 1927were studied using optical and electron microscopy, inorder to widen our knowledge of the sensory organs amonggastrotrichs. The drumstick-like sensory organs are paired,symmetrical structures located on the dorsal side of thepost-cephalic region of the body. Each sensory organ isformed by an outgrowth of the lamellar exocuticle coveringthe body surface, and it consists of an elongated, cylindricalhollow stalk surmounted by a hollow bulbous tip, housingin its cavity a dense spherical body. Compared with thethree main sensory structures recognized among Gastrotricha,i.e., mechanoreceptors, photoreceptors, and chemoreceptors,the organization of the drumstick-like sensoryorgan matches that of mechanoreceptors. In particular, wesuggest that the drumstick-like sensory organs of P. helgolandicusare gravireceptor organs, analogous to the orthopteran“plumb bob-like” receptors. This is the firstdescription of a putative gravireceptor organ among gastrotrichs.


2007 - A new species of Pseudostomella (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida: Thaumastodermatidae) from a sandy beach of Kerala, India [Articolo su rivista]
Priyalakshmi, G.; Menon, M. R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

During an interstitial faunal survey along the south-west coast of Kerala, India, gastrotrich fauna were found in abundance.Together with species of the genera Xenotrichula, Halichaetonotus and Tetranchyroderma, were present severalundescribed thaumastodermatid gastrotrichs belonging to the buccal palp bearing genus Pseudostomella. Adults of thenew species are characterized by the following traits: total body length of about 300 μm; cuticular armature made up ofmedium sized pentancres covering the entire dorsolateral surface; pre-buccal, grasping palps bearing five, large papillaedorsally and 4-6 smaller papillae ventrally; adhesive apparatus made up of six anterior, 22-24 ventrolateral, two dorsolateraland six posterior adhesive tubes; caudal organ pear-shaped; frontal organ spherical. Pseudostomella cheraensis sp.nov. is the fourth taxon of the genus known from India; however, all the previous species reported hitherto from Indiahave tetrancres instead of pentancres.


2007 - A new species of Xenotrichulidae (Gastrotricha) from southern and southeastern USA. [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new gastrotrich, Xenotrichula paralineata sp. nov., is described from the Gulf coast at Biloxi, Mississippi. Thespecies is characterized as the only medium sized xenotrichulid species, lacking tentacles, that has locomotor cirri of similarsize, pedunculated dorsal scales, ovoid pluria, an oval patch of 14 transverse scales atop the head, 9 medial scales per furcalbranch, cirri beneath the gut at U47, and a furcal indentation to U82. It is here distinguished from its Mediterranean siblingspecies, Xenotrichula lineata Schrom, 1972.


2007 - I Gastrotrichi dell’Area Marina Protetta di Capo Caccia-Isola Piana (Sardegna) [Poster]
DAL ZOTTO, M; Tongiorgi, P; Todaro, M A
abstract


2007 - Living without mitochondria: spermatozoa and spermatogenesis in two species of Urodasys (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) from dysoxic sediments [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Guidi, L.; Pierboni, L.; Marotta, R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ferraguti, M.
abstract

The spermatozoa of two species of Macrodasyida (Gastrotricha), Urodasys anorektoxys and U. acanthostylis, show an ultrastructural organization diverging from one another and from other gastrotrichs: their main peculiarity is in the absence of mitochondria. In U. anorektoxys, the acrosome is a long, twisted column inserted into the nucleus, which is basally cylindrical, and the flagellum shows rows of peculiar, large globules parallel to the axonemal doublets. In U. acanthostylis, the acrosome is completely cork-screwed and surrounds the nucleus, and the tail shows columnar accessory fibers. At present, the absence of mitochondria in the mature sperm, and the peculiar fingerprint aspect of condensed chromatin are the only traits shared by the two species. The features of the spermatozoa of these two species of Urodasys widen the range of different models of gastrotrich spermatozoa, and place the genus in a peculiar position, from the spermatological point of view, within the Macrodasyida. The loss of mitochondria in mature spermatozoa is possibly related to either the dysoxic habitat of the two species or a peculiar fertilization mechanism.


2007 - Marine Gastrotricha from the State of Kuwait (Arabian Gulf) [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Todaro, M A; Faraj, M N; Al-Kady, S; DAL ZOTTO, M
abstract

Within the framework of a meiofauna monitoring programme endorsed by the EPA of Kuwait, we conducted a faunistic survey aimed at shedding light on the diversity of marine gastrotrichs along the coast of the State of Kuwait; results will also represent the first contribution to the knowledge of these microscopic protostomes from the Arabian Gulf. During three sampling campaigns carried out in the early spring of 2005-2007 we sampled twelve locations, seven along the central and south regions of the State and five on the islands of Failaka and Qarooh. Samples, consisting of fine to coarse sand, were collected during low tide from the littoral and/or the shallow sublittoral areas and brought ASAP to the EPA’s laboratory in Salmiya (Kuwait) or to Modena (Italy); gastrotrichs were studied in vivo or surveyed after being prepared for Scanning Electron Microscopy. Faunistic analysis found 30 putative species from fifteen sites, yielding a total of 82 records (species x site) and an average of 6.0 ± 3.5 species per location. Higher species richness was found at the southern locations and at SE Failaka. Eighteen species in eleven genera and five families belong to the Macrodasyida and twelve species in seven genera and two families belong to the Chaetonotida. Apart from a handful of cosmopolitan taxa (e.g., Urodasys viviparus, Draculiciteria tesselata, Chaetonotus apolemmus) most of the Kuwaiti species appear undescribed taxa. The shallow sedimentary basin witch form the Arabic Gulf only re-flooded during the Holocene transgression, so that the present day marine biota is only of recent origin (ca 20000 y); therefore, it seems unlikely that the new species represent taxa endemic to the Gulf; future research in the Arabian Sea should unveil the original stock.


2006 - First record of Musellifer profundus (Gastrotricha) in the Italian seas. [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, F.; VIRNO LAMBERTI, C.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Several specimens of Musellifer profundus were found during a survey of the meiobenthos in the Northern Adriatic Sea. The finding bears relevance with respect to the biogeography and biology of marine gastrotricha as it widens the distributional boundaries of a rare species (thus far known only from the North and Baltic seas and from off Marseille), at the same time allowing new insights into the arrangement and functioning of the hermaphroditic sexual apparatus in a genus for which data in this regard are scanty.


2006 - Further data on the Italiana marine gastrotrich fauna. [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Leasi, F.
abstract

This study reports on the gastrotrich fauna recorded in 14 new or newly investigated Italian locations, during surveys carried out from 2003-2005. As some of these unpublished faunistic data were included in the chapter devoted to Gastrotricha in the recent check-list of Italian marine species, this paper aims to provide details regarding the locations, people involved, sampling times, characteristics of the surveyed microhabitats and, of course, a list of species found at any single location. The research should be relevant as it provides the first lists of meiobenthic taxa from some protected Italian areas, such as “Area marina protetta di Porto Guaceto” and Asinara island. Other interesting locations, from a faunistic point of view, seem to be Cala Pisana, on the island of Lampedusa, where 16 species were recorded and Pomonte on the island of Elba, home to a dense population of lepidodasyid gastrotrichs that belong to an undescribed genus and species. Overall, it is hoped that the 40 species reported can contribute to debate on the biogeography of the Mediterranean gastrotrichs


2006 - Gastrotricha [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Il phylum Gastrotricha comprende oggi circa 690 specie suddivise nei due ordini: Macrodasyida, che include quasi esclusivamente specie marine, e Chaetonotida, con specie marine e dulcacquicole. La fauna a gastrotrichi delle coste italiane è la meglio conosciuta rispetto a quella di tutte le altre nazioni mediterranee. Le specie marine sinora identificate ammontano a 152 (88 Macrodasyida e 64 Chaetonotida), provenienti da oltre 180 località, alle quali si aggiungono almeno un’altra trentina non ancora descritte. Per confronto, questo dato può essere paragonato con quelli disponibili per altri Paesi del bacino del Mediterraneo, dove lo sforzo di campionamento è stato di un certo rilievo: Grecia: 44 località investigate, 77 specie rinvenute; Francia: 26 località, 56 spp; Egitto: 28 località, 80 spp; Israele: 15 località, 28 spp. Confronti possono essere fatti anche con dati disponibili per le Isole Britanniche, la regione meglio conosciuta dopo il Mediterraneo, per le quali sono note soltanto 117 specie (73 Macrodasyida e 44 Chaetonotida) raccolte da 137 località, e per il resto dei mari nord-europei, 146 specie (78 Macrodasyida e 68 Chaetonotida) da ben 222 località campionate.La prima specie di gastrotrico rinvenuta nelle acque marine italiane fu un macrodaside, Hemidasys agaso, descritto da E. Claparède nel 1867, nel golfo di Napoli, mentre il primo chetonotide venne descritto da T. Grünspan nel 1908, per il golfo di Trieste; è soltanto a partire dagli anni ‘50 del secolo scorso tuttavia che le ricerche sulle specie marine sono state condotte con una certa assiduità, risultando particolarmente intense negli ultimi quindici anni. La bibliografia esaustiva dei lavori a sfondo tassonomico-faunistico riguardanti i gastrotrichi marini delle coste italiane viene riportata di seguito. E’ opportuno sottolineare che i dati storici e le informazioni faunistiche e zoogeografiche raccolte fino alla metà dei trascorsi anni ’90 sono stati riassunti nella prima check-list dei gastrotrichi italiani (Balsamo e Tongiorgi, 1995), mentre informazioni più recenti, raccolte dal 1995 al 2003, sono state incluse in tre lavori successivi (cf. Todaro et al., 2001, 2003b; Todaro e Leasi, 2005). Particolare rilevanza, anche ai fini della presente check-list, assume l’'Inventario' del 2001 poiché in esso sono riportate, oltre alla precisa distribuzione geografica, suddivisa per regione, provincia e località, di tutte le specie italiane note fino ad allora, anche le sinonimie, nuove o formalmente riconosciute, di cui la precedente check-list non aveva tenuto conto (es. Turbanella thiophila, T. italica, T. cirrata, Paraturbanella microptera); lo stesso lavoro corregge, inoltre, precedenti informazioni zoogeografiche basate su errate identificazioni specifiche (es. Dactylopodola typhle vs D. mesotyphle; Heterolepidoderma marinum vs H. istrianum; Ichthydium cyclocephalum vs I. podura) o rinvenimenti in località non più italiane (es. Chaetonotus modestus, Halichaetonotus swedmarki, Heterolepidoderma clipeatum, H. contectum segnalte a Rovigno). Nel secondo e nel terzo articolo (Todaro et al., 2003b; Todaro e Leasi, 2005) è riportata, tra l’altro, la gastrotricofauna rinvenuta in località italiane precedentemente poco o affatto investigate, ed è aggiunto Tetranchyroderma inaequitubulatum alla lista delle specie note per il nostro Paese.In questo lavoro, per quanto riguarda l’elenco delle specie, abbiamo ritenuto opportuno includere solo i taxa formalmente descritti e nominati, con l’eccezione di Xenodasys sp. e Crasiella sp. poiché si tratta degli unici rappresentanti dei rispettivi generi nelle acque italiane e nel Mediterraneo. Per quanto riguarda la sistematica ci si è attenuti a quanto riportato sul “Gastrotricha World Portal” all’URL “www.gastrotricha.unimore.it”, precisando che la sistematica dei gastrotrichi, in particolare dei chetonotidi, è tutt'altro c


2006 - Harpacticoida [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ceccherelli, V. U.
abstract

L’ordine degli Harpacticoida è uno dei nove ordini della sottoclasse Copepoda (Boxhall & Halsey, 2004); che insieme con altre sei sottoclassi costituisce la classe dei Maxillopoda (Huys & Boxshall, 1991; Huys et al., 1996). Le specie di Arpatticoidi descritte finora sono oltre 3620, distribuite in 554 generi e 52 famiglie (Boxshall & Halsey, 2004). La maggior parte di esse sono a vita libera con alcune ectoparassite o commensali su spugne, coralli, cefalopodi, altri crostacei, tunicati e persino balene (fam. Balaenophilidae). Tre famiglie, con più di 1000 specie, sono esclusivamente di acqua dolce mentre dal mare o da ambienti salmastri sono state descritte finora oltre 2500 specie. Delle forme marine poche sono le planctoniche, mentre la maggior parte di esse vivono a contatto con il fondo, risultando particolarmente abbondanti nei sedimenti mobili e sulla vegetazione (alghe e fanerogame).In ecologia marina gli Arpatticoidi sono considerati un importante componente delle comunità meiobentoniche (gli esemplari raramente eccedono il millimetro) dove costituiscono generalmente il secondo taxon per abbondanza numerica, secondi solo ai nematodi; essi tendono tuttavia a dominare nei sedimenti grossolani e sulle alghe (Hicks e Coull, 1983). L’abbondanza degli Arpatticoidi generalmente decresce con la profondità: densità massime, da 105 ind./ m2 a 106 ind./ m2 sono state riportate per sedimenti intertidali mentre nel “deep-sea” la densità può raggiungere solo 104 ind./m2 (Coull et al., 1977). La lista che segue include circa 210 specie marine e salmastre ed è stata redatta sulla base di una revisione critica della precedente checklist delle specie italiane di Copepodi Arpatticoidi (Argano et al., 1996) aggiornata con i rinvenimenti più recenti o di cui il precedente lavoro non aveva tenuto conto (es. Zangheri, 1966; Cottarelli e Forniz, 1995; Stoch, 1994; Huys e Todaro, 1997; Todaro, 1999; Colangelo et al., 2001; Berera et al., 2005); sono segnalate anche alcune specie di acqua dolce rinvenute in ambiente interstiziale di foce e/o appartenenti a famiglie o generi prevalentemente marini (es. Arenoponzia, Delamarella e Itunella vedi Cottarelli et al., 1984, 1999; Berera et al., 2001; Berera e Cottarelli, 2003). In quest’occasione si è ritenuto opportuno, oltre che riportare le famiglie in ordine alfabetico, citare solo i taxa formalmente descritti e/o identificati a livello di specie (o sottospecie), con l’unica eccezione di Parevansula sp., poiché unico rappresentante del genere in Italia. Rispetto alla precedente checklist (Argano et al., 1996), in quella attuale compaiono ben 33 specie, 14 generi e 4 famiglie nuove per la fauna italiana, tenuto conto anche delle numerose revisioni sistematiche succedutesi nell’ultimo decennio (cf. Boxshall e Halsey, 2004). Tra le “novità” sistematiche di particolare rilevanza si segnalano: a, l’abolizione della famiglia Diosaccidae con il trasferimento di generi e specie nella famiglia Miracidae; b, il formale riconoscimento della famiglia Euterpinidae con il conseguente trasferimento del genere Euterpina in precedenza affiliato alla famiglia Tachidiidae; c, il formale riconoscimento della famiglia Orthopsyllidae con i trasferimento in essa del genere Orthopsyllus, prima collocato tra i Canthocamptidae; d, tra i Cylindropsyllidae l’elevazione a rango di famiglia per le sottofamiglie Leptastacinae e Leptopontiinae, con conseguente trasferimento di alcuni generi dalla famiglia originaria: Leptastacus, Minervella, Paraleptastacus e Psamathea alla famiglia Leptastacidae e Leptopontia, Syrticola Arenopontia, Psammopsyllus, Ichnusella e Psammopsyllus alla famiglia Leptopontiidae. Per la distribuzione geografica delle specie rivenute nel nostro Paese prima del 1950, di enorme aiuto è stata l’opera monografica di Lang (1948), per i rinvenimenti successivi, ma non solo, ci si è basati sugli articoli originali (es. Grandori, 1912, 1913; Pesta 1920, 1959


2006 - Interrelationships of the Gastrotricha and their place among the Metazoa inferred from 18S rRNA genes [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Telford, M. J.; Lockyer, A. E.; Littlewood, D. T. J.
abstract

The phylum Gastrotricha includes about 700 species. They are small worm-like organisms abundant among marine and freshwater meiobenthos. In spite of their ubiquity, diversity and relative abundance, phylogenetic relationships of these animals remain enigmatic due to the conflicting results of morphological and molecular cladistic analyses. Also unclear are the alliances within the phylum. In order to best estimate the position of Gastrotricha among the Metazoa and to shed some light on the ingroup phylogenetic relationships, small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) from 15 species of Chaetonotida (eight genera) and 28 species of Macrodasyida (26 genera) were included in an alignment of 50 metazoan taxa representing 26 phyla. Of the gastrotrich SSU rDNA sequences, eight are new and, along with published sequences represent eight families, including the five marine most speciose. Gastrotricha were resolved within a monophyletic Lophotrochozoa as part of a clade including Micrognathozoa, Rotifera and Cycliophora. The Gnathostomulida were sister to this clade. Nodal support was love for all of these relationships except the grouping of the Micrognathozoa, Rotifera and Cycliophora. Bayesian inference resolved the Gastrotricha as monophyletic with weak nodal support; the Macrodasyida were resolved as paraphyletic with many basal nodes poorly supported. Within the Chaetonotida, the monotypic Multitubulatina Neodasys was found in alliance with the macrodasyidan Urodasys while all the Paucitubulatina were found to form a single, well-supported clade, with Musellifer as the most basal member. Among the snore densely sampled Macrodasyida the Lepidodasyidae and Macrodasyidae were each found to be polyphyletic while morphology was well supported for the Turbanellidae and Thaumastodermatidae. The congruence of our results with those of the cladistic analysis based on morphological traits provides confidence about the value of each dataset, and calls for widening of the research to include additional taxa of particular phylogenetic significance such as the Dactylopodolidae, Diuronotus, Heteroxenotrichula and Draculiciteria. The study highlights the problems in working with small species, the need for voucher specimens and the confused taxonomic status and membership of various gastrotrich families.


2006 - La meiofauna delle sabbie “relitte” dell’Adriatico Settentrionale soggette ad operazioni di escavo [Articolo su rivista]
G., Ferrari; Ansaloni, Ivano; Mauri, Marina; Pagliai, Anna Maria; Prevedelli, Daniela; Simonini, Roberto; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The study falls within a larger research programme aimed at assessing the effect of dredging operations on benthic fauna associated with an off-shore sand bank to be used for beach nourishment. Meiofaunal samples in three replicates were collected in three periods: before, during and one month after the dredging operations, at 10 sites: 3 in the impacted area and 7 in adjacent areas not subject to dredging. A faunistic survey of sediment cores found the meiofaunal benthic community to be composed almost exclusively of epibenthic and infaunal forms. The community was dominated by Nematoda followed by Harpacticoida, with the highest density recorded before the beginning of the operations. The dredging had a strong, adverse effect on the fauna, causing near complete defaunation at the impacted sites. One month after completion of the operation, the fauna of the impoverished sites did not show significant evidence of recovery; a working hypothesis relates the slow recolonisation process to the large extension of the impacted area.


2006 - Loricifera [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

I Loriciferi (dal latino lorica, corsetto e fera, portare) sono organismi esclusivi dell’ambiente marino ed in virtù delle loro piccole dimensioni e dello stile di vita vengono considerati dagli studiosi del benthos come rappresentanti della meiofauna permanente. Ricostruzioni filogenetiche attuali li vedono tra gli Ecdysozoa, associati con i Chinorinchi ed i Priapulidi nel clade degli Scalidofora (Halanych, 2004). Nei Loriciferi i sessi sono separati, con maschi e femmine accomunati dalla taglia ma leggermente dimorfici per quanto concerne la forma degli scalidi, appendici molto specializzate localizzate all’estremità anteriore (Kristensen, 1991a). Benché molte specie siano gonocoriche con inseminazione interna, almeno in due casi è stata documentata la riproduzione per partenogenesi (Kristensen, 1991b; Gad, 2005a). La prole viene prodotta mediante uova deposte singolarmente e lo stadio adulto è raggiunto con la muta attraverso una serie di 4-5 peculiari stadi larvali, noti come larva di Higgins (Kristensen, 1991a). Recentemente sono stati descritti cicli biologici molto complessi includenti fenomeni di neotenia e pedogenesi (Krestensen, 2002; Kristensen e Brooke, 2002; Gad, 2004a, 2005b; Heiner, 2005).Il phylum venne istituito nella prima metà degli anni ‘80 del secolo scorso per dare collocazione sistematica a Nanaloricus mysticus, un microscopico animale rinvenuto in sabbia conchifera (sabbia a Dentalium) raccolta a 25 m di profondità al largo di Roscoff, in Francia, le cui peculiari caratteristiche morfologiche apparivano intermedie tra quelle dei Chinorinchi e quelle degli stadi larvali dei Priapulidi (Kristensen, 1983). Il primo rinvenimento documentato di Loriciferi è antecedente, risalendo al 1974, quando un singolo animale di questo phylum fu rinvenuto in un campione di sabbia silicea raccolto a 400 metri di profondità al largo delle coste della Carolina del Nord, USA (cf. Higgins e Kristensen, 1986). L’esemplare, un maschio, fu comunque riconosciuto come un loricifero solo all’epoca dell’istituzione del phylum, più tardi esso venne descritto e nominato Pliciloricus enigmaticus (Higgins e Kristensen, 1986). In questa stessa occasione, gli autori descrissero altre sette specie di Loriciferi interstiziali, tutte proveniente da sabbie silicee medio-grossolane raccolte lungo la costa atlantica degli USA. Per le profonde differenze morfologiche tra questi esemplari e Nanaloricus mysticus, le specie americane vennero affiliate alla nuova famiglia Pliciloricidae (Higgins e Kristensen, 1986). A tutt’oggi sono state descritte 21 specie di Loriciferi, appartenti a sei generi e due famiglie affiliate all’unico ordine Nanaloricida. Tuttavia, esemplari appartenenti ad almeno altre 80 specie, incluso rappresentanti di un nuovo ordine, sono state segnalate da tutte le parti del mondo, a testimonianza della distribuzione cosmopolita del phylum (Kristensen e Meier, 1986; Kristensen e Shirayama, 1988; Kristensen e Gad, 2004; Gad, 2004b; Heiner, 2004, 2005; Heiner e Kristensen, 2005). Benché la quasi totalità delle specie descritte provenga da ambienti sabbiosi, la maggioranza dei rinvenimenti di specie non ancora descritte riguarda sedimenti con caratteristiche granulometriche molto più fini tra cui anche i fondali argillosi tipici della zona adale (Hubbard, 1988; Kristensen e Shirayama, 1988; Gad, 2004b; R.M. Kristensen, comunicazione personale). Ed è proprio in sedimenti pelitici di questo tipo che sono state rinvenute le prime quattro specie di Loriciferi segnalate per il Mediterraneo, in Corsica (vedi Soetaert et al., 1984; Balduzzi et al., 1995). Recentemente, esemplari di una di queste sono stati riconosciuti come appartenenti a Rogiloricus caudatus (Kristensen, 2003). Occorre tuttavia sottolineare che l’unica specie italiana di loricifero formalmente descritta, Nanaloricus khaitatis, è stata rinvenuta nel 1997 nella sabbia organogena delle secche della Meloria (Todaro e Kristens


2006 - Meiofauna densities and gastrotrich community composition in a Mediterranean sea cave [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Leasi, F.; Bizzarri, N.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

During the past 5 decades, the large-sized biota inhabiting dark marine caves has attracted the attention of many marine biologists; in contrast, studies concerning the meiofaunal organisms of these peculiar biotopes remain scanty and mostly with a taxonomic aim. In this study, the nature and abundance of meiofaunal taxa living in a Mediterranean, semi-submerged sea cave was surveyed in relation to distance from the entrance and over two different seasonal periods. Particular attention was paid to the Gastrotricha taxocene. Research was carried out in a cave along the Ionian coast of Apulia (southern Italy), the Grotta Piccola del Ciolo which opens for approximately 120 m on the north-eastern side of a shallow fjord and has a bottom blanketed by fine to very fine sand, occasionally rich in detritus. Quantitative samples in four replicates were collected by SCUBA diving, in November 2000 and June 2001, coring the sediment with a hand-held piston corer in three light-free sites (stations 1-3) located at increasing distances from the entrance. At each site, two additional 500-ml sediment samples were collected for an in vivo study of the Gastrotricha. Faunistic analysis found a fairly high meiobenthic diversity, identifying representatives of more than 12 major groups, with total abundances ranging from 656 ind./10 cm(2) (10 cm(2)) in November to 1,069 ind./10 cm(2) in June. Station 1, the closest to the entrance invariably hosted the most abundant meiofaunal community (851 ind./10 cm2 in November and 1932 ind./10 cm(2) in June), followed by station 2 or 3 depending on the season. While nematodes and harpacticoids appear as the most abundant taxa when the cave is considered as a whole, other taxa may prevail numerically in selected stations, e. g. priapulids, which are the second most abundant taxon at station 1 (30 ind./10 cm(2) in November and 83 ind./10 cm(2) in June). Although the density of total meiofauna and that of the single groups may not be very high, the cave is interesting by virtue of the peculiarity of the hosted fauna, e. g., species and genera new to science or new to the Mediterranean Sea. Regarding the Gastrotricha, we found 16 species, accounting for 1.3-2.6% of the total meiobenthos (density = 8.4 ind./10 cm(2) in November and 27.4 ind./10 cm(2) in June). Analysis of the gastrotrich community found, particularly in June, an assemblage of taxa quite different from those found in open habitats, even at the family level; differences that are probably due to the exploitation of different food resources by animals populating the two environments, i.e. algae in the open sea versus bacteria in the caves. Results indicate that for meiofauna, as happens for macrofauna, the marine caves may represent hotspots of biodiversity and endemism; the driving forces at the base of the trophic depletion hypothesis seem to be responsible for structuring the meiofauna community inside the cave.


2006 - Morphology of Xenodasys (Gastrotricha): the first species from the Mediterranean Sea and the establishment of Chordodasiopsis gen. nov and Xenodasyidae fam. nov. [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Guidi, L.; Leasi, F.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

During a survey of the Italian marine meiofauna, several specimens of the rare gastrotrich genus Xenodasys were found in a submarine cave along the Ionian coast of Apulia. The finding represents the first record of the genus for the Mediterranean Sea and reinforces the consideration of marine caves as habitats of high naturalistic value. The specimens, analysed using different microscopy techniques, showed a new species, named Xenodasys eknomios. Scanning electron microscopy, unveiling the astonishing morphology of this unusual gastrotrich, indicates that, due to technical artefacts, light microscopy may generate unreal features, which in the past may have led to the misinterpretation of the anatomical traits of these creatures. Transmission electron microscopy indicated that the 'Seitenfusschen', are genuine elements of the adhesive apparatus, in contrast with previous investigation, which attributed an exclusive sensorial function to these organs. Confocal laser scanning microscopy, combined with actin-binding fluorochromes, revealed muscular elements in a region where originally the muscular chordoid organ was reported for gastrotrich species belonging to the genus Chordodasys. A taxonomic revision of the species currently allocated to the genus Xenodasys led to the establishment of Chordodasiopsis gen. nov to integrate awenizahis and to the draftling of emended diagnosis of the genus the former Xenodasys (=Chordodasys) antennatus and to the drafting of emended diagnosis of the genus Xenodasys. An overview of the high-rank Systematization of these genera is also provided, with the establishment of Xenodasyidae fam. Nov. to allocate both Xenodasys and Chordodasiopsis.


2006 - Priapulida [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

I Priapulidi, dal greco ‘priapos’, una deità fallica personificante il potere generatore maschile, sono animali vermiformi e cilindrici di lunghezza variabile tra 0,55 mm e 20 cm, triblastici, a simmetria bilaterale, non segmentati o solo superficialmente annulati. La regione globosa anteriore, detta introverto, può essere retratta all’interno della restante parte del corpo e funge da organo per la locomozione e per il foraggiamento; all’introverto segue l’addome che accoglie la maggior parte del canale alimentare ed il sistema urogenitale; esemplari di alcuni generi presentano 1-2 espansioni caudali cui si attribuisce una funzione di coadiuvo nella respirazione o nella osmoregolazione (cfr. Storch, 1991). I sessi generalmente sono separati; la fecondazione è esterna nei priapulidi di grosse dimensioni ma interna nelle specie meiobentoniche del genere Tubiluchus (Ferraguti e Garbelli, 2006); lo sviluppo è indiretto nella quasi totalità dei casi, fa eccezione Mieopriapulus fijiensisi il cui ciclo vitale non prevede stadi larvali (Storch, 1991). I Priapulidi, benché attualmente tutt’altro che comuni costituivano il gruppo dominante tra gli invertebrati bentonici a corpo molle di alcuni mari del Cambriano medio-inferiore, come testimoniano i reperti fossili di Burgess Shale (Conway-Morris, 1977).Tra i taxa attuali, le forme macrobentoniche, nove specie in tutto, fanno parte dell’infauna dei fondali fangosi marini e sembrano essere per lo più confinati ai mari temperati boreali o freddi mentre le dieci specie meiobentoniche hanno abitudini fossorie o vivono negli interstizi dei sedimenti marini di tutto il mondo.I Priapulidi presentano la cavità del corpo rivestita da epitelio, ma tale rivestimento non è probabilmente di natura peritoneale, e pertanto l’origine e le relazioni filogenetiche di questi animali sono state a lungo dibattute. Tradizionalmente i Priapulidi sono considerati una classe del phylum Aschelminthes (Hyman, 1951) o anche un phylum a sé stante, con strette relazioni evolutive con altri vermi aschelmintomorfi (Land, 1970; Storch 1991). Le più recenti ricostruzioni filogenetiche, basate sia sull’analisi della sequenza nucleotidica di geni nucleari sia su caratteristiche morfologiche, portano ad includere i Priapulida, più verosimilmente, nell’ambito degli Ecdysozoa (Peterson e Eenisse, 2001; Petrov e Vladychenskaya, 2005 ) e più precisamente nel clade degli Scalidophora, insieme a Chinorincha e Loricifera (Sorensen et al., 2000; Halanych, 2004). La sistematica interna del gruppo prevede la suddivisione delle specie viventi in quattro ordini: Priapulomorpha (2 famiglie, 3 generi); Halicryptomorpha (1 famiglia, 1 genere), Meiopriapulomorpha (1 famiglia, 1 genere), Seticoronaria (1 famiglia, 1 genere) (Adrianov e Malakhov, 1996). Nel Mediterraneo sono state rinvenute finora quattro specie (Salvini-Plawen, 1973, 1974, 1977; Por, 1973; Por e Bromley, 1974; Murina-Vansetti, 1981, 1984; Wolter, 1987; Zavodnik, 1994; Salvini-Plawen et al., 1998; Lemburg e Ruthensteiner, 2003; Todaro e Shirley, 2003) di cui tre trovano collocazione nell’ambito dei Priapulomorpha: Priapulus caudatus, Priapulopsis (?) cnidephorus, (Fam. Priapulidae) e Tubiluchus troglodytes (fam. Tubiluchidae) ed una nei Seticoronaria: Maccabeus tentaculatus (Fam. Maccabeidae).I priapulidi segnalati nel Mediterraneo sono tutti endemici del bacino eccetto Priapulus caudatus, specie ad ampia distribuzione nell’emisfero nord. Nel mediterraneo è nota per il sud della Spagna, il golfo del Leone, Cipro e diverse località dell’Adriatico (cfr. Lemburg e Ruthensteiner, 2003). Tra le forme endemiche, Maccabeus tentaculatus sembra avere la più ampia distribuzione poiché segnalata nel Mare di Alboran, a Banyuls-sur-Mer, nei pressi di Cipro e nell’Adriatico (Dalmazia e Puglia: Salvini-Plawen, 1974, 1977). Priapulopsis (?) cnidephorus è stata rinvenuta in un unico esemplare nei pressi di Rovigno in Croazia (Salvini-Plawe


2006 - The general muscular architecture in Tubiluchus troglodytes (Priapulida). Meiofauna Marina [Articolo su rivista]
Rothe, B. H.; SCHMIDT RHAESA, A.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

We describe here the general muscular architecture of Tubiluchus troglodytes (Priapulida) based on phalloidin staining, confocal laser scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The body wall musculature is composed of a grid of circular and longitudinal muscle bundles, in the introvert, there is additional outer longitudinal musculature. T. troglodytes has pharynx protractors, wheras the introvert retractors could not be sufficiently resolved in this investigation. The muscular pharynx is followed by an organ with solid circular musculature, the polythyridium. The body wall musculature proceeds into the long tail. In the posterior region, anus and urogenital pores are surrounded by circular musculature.


2006 - The musculature of three species of gastrotrichs surveyed with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) [Articolo su rivista]
Leasi, Francesca; Rothe, B. H.; SCHMIDT RHAESA, A.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The muscular system of gastrotrichs consists of circular, longitudinal and helicoidal bands that when analysed with confocal laser scanning microscopy, provide new insights into their functional organization and phylogenetic importance. We therefore undertook a comparative study of the muscle organization in three species of Gastrotricha from the orders Macrodasyida (Paradasys sp., Lepidodasyidae; Turbanella sp., Turbanellidae) and Chaetonotida (Polymerurus nodicaudus, Chaetonotidae). The general muscle organization of the marine interstitial macrodasyidans, Paradasys and Turbanella, not only confirms earlier observation on other species but also adds new details concerning the organization and number of helicoidal, longitudinal and other muscle bands (e.g. semicircular band). The freshwater, epibenthic-epiphytic chaetonotid, Polymerurus nodicaudus, has a similar muscular organization to other species of Chaetonotidae, especially species of Chaetonotus, Halichaetonotus and Lepidodermella. Perhaps unique to Polymerurus is the combined presence of an unbranched Ruckenhautmuskel (also in Halichaetonotus and Lepidodermella) and a specialized dorsoventral caudal muscle, which flank the splanchnic component of the longitudinal muscles (only in Chaetonotus and Lepidodermella). This combination, together with the presence of splanchnic dorsoventral muscles, known only in Xenotrichulidae, implies a unique phylogenetic position for Polymerurus, and indicates a potential basal position of this taxon among the Chaetonotidae studied so far (i.e. Aspidiophorus, Chaetonotus, Halichaetonotus and Lepidodermella).


2006 - Two new species of Tetranchyroderma (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) from a sandy beach in southeastern Australia [Articolo su rivista]
Nicholas, W.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Two new species of Tetranchyroderma are described from a sandy beach in southeastern Australia. Both species belong to the subgroup of the genus in which the dorsal surface of the body is covered with pentancres and in which head sensorial organs (tentacles and/or pestle organs) are absent. Tetranchyroderma pentaspersus sp. nov. is small, 178-244 mu m long, and distinguished by possessing exceptionally large pentancres, c. 30 rows, with the central tine c. 15 mu m long on the trunk, though shorter on the head; lateral tines c. 60% as long. The adhesive apparatus consists of four pairs of anterior adhesive tubules (TbA), nine pairs of ventro-lateral tubules (TbL), and eight posterior tubules (TbP), with two of the latter at the end of each caudal pedicle and four very small in between the caudal pedicles; dorsal and ventral tubules and cirrata are absent. Tetranchyroderma australiense sp. nov. is larger, 330-390 mu m long, possesses c. 70 rows of smaller pentancres, with all five tines of equal length. The adhesive apparatus consists of four pairs of TbA, eleven pairs of TbL, one pair of dorsal adhesive tubules (TbD), and four TbP, the latter equally distributed at the end of two caudal pedicles; ventral tubules and cirrata are absent. Possible synonymy between the new species and Tetranchyroderma sp. 7 of Valbonesi & Luporini (1988) from Somalia is discussed.


2005 - A new genus of marine chaetonotids (Gastrotricha), with a description of two new species from Greenland and Denmark [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Kristensen, M. R.
abstract

Two new marine species of Gastrotricha Chaetonotidae are described from West Greenland and Denmark. Some peculiar features suggest the affiliation of the two species to a newgenus, for which the name Diuronotus is proposed. The affinity of these gastrotrichs with species of Musellifer, the only genus entirely marine and hermaphroditic, and possibly the most basal one along the chaetonotids evolutionary line, is discussed from a morphological point of view. The span of the geographic distribution of Diuronotus is discussed in the light of a record of an additional cogeneric, undescribed species from USA. The relationships of this genus will be important in reconstructing the evolutionary pathways within chaetonotid Gastrotricha.


2005 - Further data on marine gastrotrichs from the State of São Paulo State and the first records from the State of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Rocha, C. E. F.
abstract

To increase our knowledge of the biodiversity and distribution of species of Gastrotricha along the tropical-subtropical Brazilian coasts a second collection of a two-year study was made in September 2003. This qualitative investigation focused on 13 sites at 7 locations mostly along the northern coast of the State of São Paulo. Faunistic analysis of 46 records discovered a total of 30 species, an average of 6.85 ± 5.58 species per location and 1.63 ± 1.1 sites per species. Sixteen species in ten genera and four families belong to the Macrodasyida and fourteen species in six genera and two families belong to the Chaetonotida. Ten species appear new to the Brazilian fauna whereas the remainder 20 are taxa already encountered during the 2002 survey. Of the species new to Brazil, five belong to genera unreported from the country thus far i.e., the macrodasyidans Dolichodasys sp.1, Mesodasys sp.1 (Lepidodasyidae), Urodasys viviparus (Macrodasyidae) and Turbanella sp.1 (Turbanellidae), and the chaetonotidan Draculiciteria tesselata (Xenotrichulidae). The Turbanella, two Macrodasys and two Chaetonotus species are undescribed taxa and thus far endemic to the Brazilian coast whereas Urodasys viviparus and Draculiciteria tesselata are known as regional cosmopolitans and Aspidiophorus tentaculatus is amphi-Atlantic in distribution. The macrodasyidans, Paraturbanella sp. 1 and Pseudostomella sp. 1, and the chaetonotidan Heteroxenotrichula sp.1, are the most common species, in agreement with our previous 2002 findings. However, this time, in contrast with the previous survey we found Tetranchyroderma sp.1 only once, whereas in spring 2002 the species was very common. It is possible that seasonality has much to do with the contrasting findings. Overall data indicate that the investigated area supports a good number of gastrotrich species (ca 50 spp) of both Macrodasyida and Chaetonotida orders. Our knowledge of biodiversity is likely to increase as new locations are surveyed; to maximize results study should concentrate on sandy bottom made up of fine-to-medium grain size surrounded by clear waters.


2005 - Observations on Gastrotricha from a sandy beach in southeastern Australia, with a description of Halichaetonotus australis sp. nov. (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) [Articolo su rivista]
Nicholas, W.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Several species of Gastrotricha were found among samples of nematodes extracted from a sandy ocean beach, South Broulee beach, in southeastern Australia. One of these Gastrotricha turned out to be a species new to science which is described as Halichaetonotus australis sp. nov. in this study. Although the spines of the hydrofoil scales resemble those of the cosmopolitan H. aculifer, a distinctive feature of the new species is the presence of three prominent posterior dorsal spines. These are exaggerations of the keels found on the dorsal overlapping scales that cover the dorsal surfaces of the head, neck, and trunk. The spines are almost as long as the rami of the terminal furca. H. australis sp. nov. also resembles H. inarivagus, but differs in lacking both a cephalion and hypostornion. Freeze drying is introduced as a preparation method for scanning electron microscopy of Gastrotricha.


2005 - Sperm ultrastructure of Macrodasys caudatus (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida) and a sperm-based phylogenetic analysis of Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Marotta, M.; Guidi, L.; Pierboni, L.; Ferraguti, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The spermatozoon of Macrodasys caudatus Remane, 1927 (Macrodasyida, Macrodasyidae) was studied and compared with both the spermatozoal patterns of Macrodasys sp. Ruppert 1978, and with preliminary observations of two species of Urodasys, the only other genus studied in the family. The spermatozoon of M. caudatus is similar to that of Macrodasys sp.: in both cells a mitochondrial helix surrounds the nucleus and the acrosome, and a monolayered striateti cylinder encloses a conventional axoneme; the differences between the spermatozoa of the two species concern their acrosome organization. preliminary data on the spermatozoa of Urodasijs anorcktoxys and U. acanthostylis (Macrodasyidae) are reported. Their spermatozoa greatly differ from the spermatozoon of Macrodasys, since they lack mitochondria and bave unusual "fingerprint-like" chromatin condensation and peculiar acrosome morphology, suggesting a possible polyphyly of the Macrodasyidae. The spermatozoa of both Macrodasys species do not conform to the generai pian described for Macrodasyida, mainly due to the reverse position of the mitochondrion, which in the other macrodasyidans is enclosed by a spring-shaped nucleus. A parsimony analysis was performed on a great number of spermatological data of 28 species from both orders: its results are congruent with those of the traditional systematics. A new set of autapomorphies characterizing the Gastrotricha sperm is proposed. Our analysis suggests that spermatozoal characters are useful in resolving monophyletic groups and broadening the basis of evidente in phylogenetic analyses of gastrotrichs.


2005 - Video Database for Described Species of Marine Gastrotricha [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Evans, W. A.
abstract

Some 2,500 high resolution video-micrographic images have been collected over the past decade, of which 1,450 represent 144 of 372 described species of marine gastrotrichs. A set of 200 videos of these 144 species is being prepared in MPEG-2, WMV (=MPEG-4), and Real Mediav.8 formats for use in teaching labs, ecological field studies and research. They can be accessed, along with the revised 2004 Global Database for marine Gastrotricha, from a server at http://132.235.243.28 or http://hummon-nas.biosci.ohiou.edu. All video formats have the same duration, but differ in size and resolution. WMV or RM v.8 may serve as “thumbnails,” and MPEG-2 for research purposes where higher resolution is desired. Contents of the server are updated periodically as additional information is available and new species are described.


2004 - Diversity and distribution of marine Gastrotricha along the northern beaches of the state of Sao Paulo (Brazil), with description of a new species of Macrodasys (Macrodasyida, Macrodasyidae) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Rocha, C. E. F.
abstract

Forty-three putative species were found in this first-ever survey of the marine gastrotrich fauna of Brazil. Samples from 23 locations and 37 sites along the northern coasts of the state of Sao Paulo yielded 21 species of Macrodasyida (12 genera and five families) and 22 species of Chaetonotida (seven genera and two families). Based on morphology, 26 species appear to be taxa not previously described and thus far endemic to Brazil, 13 are known species, while one in each of the genera Diplodasys, Paradasys and Tetranchyroderma remains undetermined. The overall high diversity contrasts with the generally low number of species from single locations, averaging 4.3 (SD 3.5) spp. per location; very few species were found in sites characterized by very fine sand sediment loaded with detritus and by high water turbidity (e.g. 1 sp. in praia da Fazenda), whereas a well-diversified gastrotrich community was found in localities characterized by medium or fine sand with little detritus and clear water (e.g. 14 spp. in praia de Castelhanos). The macrodasyidans, Paraturbanella sp. 1, Pseudostomella sp. 1 and Tetranchyroderma sp. 1, and the chaetonotidan Heteroxenotrichula sp. 1 were the most common species, often sympatric and particularly frequent and abundant along the continental shoreline (recorded in 50-65% of these localities); on the other hand, Macrodasys fornerise n. sp., Ptychostomella sp. 1, Tetranchyroderma sp. 3 and Thaumastoderma sp. 2, while occurring sometimes in very high numbers, exhibited a much narrower range, being encountered only once or twice during the survey. The main morphometric traits are described of the 13 species considered to be cosmopolitan or with at least an amphi-Atlantic distribution, including Chaetonotus apechochaetus and Hahchaetonotus marivagus, reported here for the first time from the Americas; of the 26 species thus far endemic to Brazil, Macrodasys fornerise n. sp., which is characterized by a noticeable 145 mum-long frontal organ, is also described and figured.


2004 - Gastrotricha [Capitolo/Saggio]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Gastrotricha are microscopic (0.6–3.0 mm in body length) aquatic invertebrates closely related to Nematoda, with most of which they share a meiobenthic life style. In marine habitats they are mainly interstitial whereas in fresh waters they are an important component of the periphyton and benthos; members of three freshwater families are semipelagic. The phylum is cosmopolitan with about 690 species grouped into two orders: Macrodasyida, with 240 species, all but two marine, and Chaetonotida, with 450 species, 300 of which are freshwater taxa.Chaetonotidans have a tenpin-shaped, diaphanous (transparent), small-sized body (60–770 μm) composed of three regions: a rounded head, an ovate trunk and a caudal furca formed by two adhesive tubes (Fig. 1 A,B). The body is completely covered with a cuticle which generally bears scales and spines. Two ventral ciliary bands running from the head up to the furcal base allow swimming or gliding on the sediment surface. The head shows four clusters of sensory cilia, several protective, cuticular plates, and the subapical mouth, often provided with a ring of protrusible,hook-like structures. A strong, muscular pharynx, with a triradiate lumen, similar to that of Nematoda, extends for about a third of the total body length and is surrounded by a large, bilobed brain. The gut is straight and opens into the ventral, subterminal anus. Two protonephridia lie at the sides of the anterior intestine emptying into two ventral pores. The reproductive system is made up of two ovaries located in the posterior portion of the trunk . Functional testes are present in some marine forms (Neodasyidae, Xenotrichulidae, Musellifer), but apparently absent in freshwater species that all reproduce by apomictic parthenogenesis. A key to genera is reported below. (Hummon 1984; Balsamo 1992).


2004 - Marine gastrotrichs from west-Mediterranean calcareous sediment [Poster]
Todaro, M A; Rossaro, S; DAL ZOTTO, M; Giere, O
abstract

In the western Mediterranean Sea conspicuous patches of calcareous soft bottoms are quite rare, one exception being the surroundings of Pianosa, a small Italian island, that for long served as a State high security penitentiary. In 1998 the island changed its status, becoming part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, thus allowing in small contingents of visitors and researchers. This novelty gave us the opportunity to survey the gastrotrich community of calcareous habitats, whose knowledge outside the tropical coralline realm is scarce. Thus, in July 2003, we sampled qualitatively more than 15 sites in front of the north-eastern coast of the island. Samples consisting of either coarse biogenic or medium clastic sand were collected manually by SCUBA diving at depths between -1.5 m and –16.5 m isobaths. Additionally, we collected quantitative samples, in four replicates, from three sites along a transect, at 1.5 m, 5.0 m and 12 m water depth respectively. Faunistic analysis revealed 40 species from the eighteen sites explored, yielding a total of 146 records (species x site) or 8.1  4.7 species per site. Twenty-six species in twelve genera and five families belong to the order Macrodasyida, and fourteen species in five genera and two families belong to the order Chaetonotida. All but four appear undescribed species, with two endemic to the island, so far. Particularly interesting is the simultaneous presence of the three described species of the uncommon genus Lepidodasys. Higher species richness resulted in sites characterised by medium, clastic sediments compared to the coarse, biogenic ones, 11  3.8 spp vs 4.5  2.6 spp. Density was higher in the finer sediment too, 211.9  115.0 ind.·10 cm-2 vs 6.7  4.6 ÷ 9.3  2.9 ind.·10 cm-2. Gastrotrichs ranked third in abundance among meiofauna taxa in sites of medium granulometry, making up 5.5% of total meiofauna, whereas they resulted only seventh or lower in sites characterized by coarse sand, accounting just for 0.9-1.2% of the total multicellular meiobenthos. As a working hypothesis we link the generally poor gastrotrich fauna found in the coarser sediments to the limited extension of the sandy patches from which the samples were taken e.g., small areas in Posidonia meadow. Preliminary comparisons indicate that clastic calcareous sediments of medium granulometry host a gastrotrich community richer then siliceous sand of corresponding grain size. Studies on a broader scale indicate that this difference in biodiversity in the different sediment types can be generalized (see contribution by Giere et al.), clarification of the reasons is the aim of a special project.


2004 - Spermatology of the genus Lepidodasys Remane, 1926 (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida): towards a revision of the family Lepidodasyidae Remane, 1927 [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Pierboni, L.; Ferraguti, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The spermatozoa of Lepidodasys unicarenatus and Lepidodasys sp. are filiform and composed of a cork-screw shaped acrosome, a helical nucleus surrounding a mitochondrial axis, and a 9 x 2 + 2 flagellum as in the basic structural model of the macrodasyidan sperm. The genus Lepidodasys has a debated phylogenetic position and has been linked in turn to the family Lepidodasyidae and the family Thaumastodermatidae. The sperm features of the two Lepidodasys species examined are distinct from those typical of the two families: the absence of the periaxonemal cylinder, a character shared only with Turbanellidae among Macrodasyida, could be considered as a symplesiomorphy, suggesting a basal position of the genus along the Macrodasyida clade. Moreover, a comparison of the spermatogenic process of Lepidodasys sp. with those of Acanthodasys aculeatus (Thaumastodermatidae) and Cephalodasys maximus (Lepidodasyidae) has revealed that the process of acrosome formation and nuclear morphology during spermatogenesis are peculiar in Lepidodasys sp. and differences are evident especially in the late stages of spermatogenesis. Penetrated spermatozoa were observed in the oocytes at all maturation stages in L. unicarenatus.


2004 - Twelfth International Meiofauna Conference [Esposizione]
F., Bertasi; Bertolani, Roberto; V. U., Ceccherelli; M., Colangelo; Guidetti, Roberto; Rebecchi, Lorena; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

News insights on phylogenetic relationships and distribution patters of meiofaunal based on morphological and /or molecular analysis Coupling habitat complexity/heterogeneity and meiofaunal assemblagesMeiofauna in space and time Meiofauna trophic relationshipsDeep-sea meiofaunaResponse of meiofaunal taxa and/or assemblages to physical and/or chemical disturbanceMeiofauna in selected habitat


2003 - A new Tetranchyroderma species (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida, Thaumastodermatidae) from the Canary Islands (Spain) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Ancona, P.; Marzano, A.; D'Addabbo, M. G.; SD GRIMALDI DE ZIO, S.
abstract

Shallow sublittoral sediment collected from Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) yielded several specimens of an undescribed thaumastodermatid gastrotrich species along with some specimens of Paraturbanella teissieri and one unidentifiable specimen belonging to the genus Crasiella. The paper deals with the description of Tetranchyroderma canariense sp. nov. The new species, which appears closely allied with T thysanogaster, Tetranchyroderma sp. 4 and Tetranchyroderma sp. 5 (Valbonesi & Luporini 1984), is characterized by: 1. a complete cuticular covering made up of tetrancres, that are larger on the head and rear trunk region; 2. caudal pedicles each made up of two adhesive tubes; 3. up to 10 anterior adhesive tubes; up to 20 ventrolateral adhesive tubes per side, and two clusters of ventral adhesive tubes of 4 tubes each, located in the posterior trunk region. This represents the first record of marine Gastrotricha from the Canary Archipelago and the second marine gastrotrich species from Spain.


2003 - A new meiobenthic priapulid (Priapulida, Tubiluchidae) from a Mediterranean submarine cave [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Shirley, T. C.
abstract

A new priapulid species belonging to genus Tubiluchus is described on the basis of specimens collected in November, 2000 and June, 2001 in a submarine cave along the Ionian coast of Apulia. Southern Italy. The new species closely resembles T. corallicola that inhabits the tropical-subtropical areas of the Western Atlantic Ocean but can be distinguished by the smaller size of the adults, and the smaller size and the shape of the pharyngeal teeth of the larval stages. A careful microscopical survey of the sensorial elements led to the discovery of a central bristle in the flosculi and a small hole at the tip of the associated setae, allowing speculation about a tactile sensorial function for the former bind a chemoreceptive function for the latter. While T. troglodytes n. sp. represents the first fully described species of this genus from the Mediterranean Sea. the population densities recorded, particularly those found in June, 2001 (83.8 +/- 40.1 SD ind./10 cm(2)) rank among the highest value reported for priapulids from any location in the world. On both sampling dates the sex ratio (female/total adults) in the T. troglodytes n. sp. population averaged about 0.6. Presence of larval stages of different ages during both sampling periods could imply that Tubiluchus spp reproduce the year around.


2003 - Biomonitoring of a dumping area: the meiobenthic community [Articolo su rivista]
Baraldi, E.; VIRNO LAMBERTI, C.; Pellegrini, D.; Leasi, F.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Meiofauna abundance and community structure were investigated in a sea disposal site in the Ligurian Sea, 1 year after the dumping of material dredged from the harbour of Leghorn. Faunistic analysis of cores taken in three stations subject to sediment discard and one in a control site found in all cases the Nematoda as the dominant taxon followed by the Harpacticoida Copepoda. While ANOVA could not detect statistically significant differences among stations, except station H5, the number of taxa and their density were higher than values obtain from samples collected two weeks and two months after the dumping. Sites H5 previously indicated as the most impacted site showed the higher density of total meiofauna and the most well-balanced repartition of taxa. Overall data support the working hypothesis of a progressive but differentiated faunistic recovery of the impacted sites.


2003 - Comparative sperm ultrastructure of Neodasys ciritus and Musellifer delamarei, two species considered to be basal among Chaetonotida (Gastrotricha) [Articolo su rivista]
Guidi, L.; Marotta, R.; Pierboni, L.; Ferraguti, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.
abstract

The spermatozoa of two species supposed to be basal to Gastrotricha Chaetonotida, Neodasys ciritus and Musellifer delamarei, were studied in order to supply further elements to the understanding of sperm evolution in Chaetonotida, a group in which a fully parthenogenetic reproduction is dominant. Two considerably different sperm patterns were found: the spermatozoon of N. ciritus has a simple, conical acrosome, a short, condensed nucleus, few conventional mitochondria randomly arranged along the sperm head, and a 9x2+2 flagellum perpendicular to the sperm major axis. The spermatozoon of M. delamarei is a filiform cell with a simple acrosome, a partially condensed nucleus, four mitochondria at the nuclear base, and a flagellum with a 9x2+2 axoneme and large accessory fibers. Some sperm features of M. delamarei are comparable to those of Xenotrichulidae, the only other Chaetonotida producing conventional spermatozoa, whereas the sperm of N. ciritus appears different from all the other patterns known among Gastrotricha, thus knowledge of it does not help in solving the problem of the discussed phylogenetic position of the genus.


2003 - Effetti dell'estrazione di sabbie marine sulla comunità macrozoobentonica delle sabbie relitte dell'Adriatico settentrionale [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ansaloni, Ivano; Baraldi, Elena; Mauri, Marina; G., Montanari; Pagliai, Anna Maria; M., Preti; Prevedelli, Daniela; A., Rinaldi; Simonini, Roberto; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Il “Programma pluriennale di monitoraggio dell’area a mare da cui sono state prelevate le sabbieper il ripascimento delle spiagge emiliano-romagnole”, finanziato dalla regione Emilia-Romagna, ha previstolo studio delle comunità macrozoobentoniche per valutare l’impatto delle operazioni di dragaggio ed ilprocesso di ripopolamento. I campionamenti sono stati effettuati prima (03/01), durante (04/02) e dopo circa1, 6 e 12 mesi dal dragaggio, in 3 stazioni nella zona di prelievo (impattate) ed in 7 stazioni adiacenti(controlli). Le granulometrie delle stazioni impattate erano simili a quelle osservate nelle stazioni di controlloe non hanno presentato variazioni significative nel corso dei lavori. Durante le cinque campagne sono statirinvenuti 16510 individui, appartenenti a 148 unità sistematiche. La maggior parte delle specie rinvenute ècaratteristica di fondi misti sabbiosi e fangosi. Gli anellidi costituivano il phylum maggiormenterappresentato, seguito da molluschi e artropodi. Le stazioni impattate hanno subito una defaunazione quasicompleta, ma dopo 12 mesi dal dragaggio la comunità macrozoobentonica mostra significativi segnali direcupero e ricolonizzazione. Le aree di controllo non sembrano aver risentito delle operazioni di dragaggio.A differenza di altri interventi analoghi, non si è registrato l’insediamento di specie opportuniste nellestazioni impattate. Inoltre, confrontando i dati faunistici relativi alle diverse campagne, sono state osservatesignificative variazioni nei popolamenti, legate ai cicli biologici delle diverse specie ed alla elevatastagionalità dell’Adriatico settentrionale.


2003 - Faunistics and zoogeographical overview of the Mediterranean and Black Sea marine Gastrotricha. [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Matinato, L.; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

The paper provides an updated overview of the knowledge regarding the marine gastrotrich fauna of 10 Mediterranean and 2 Black Sea countries. Taxonomic account and species distribution come from published records, including electronically disseminated information, as well as original data from 18 localities (16 western and 2 levantine), investigated by the authors between 1990 and 2002. Since the description of the first marine Mediterranean gastrotrich, Emydasys agaso Claparede, 1867, discovered in the Gulf of Naples (Italy), 273 additional species, from 417 locations have been recorded in the basin so far. Of the gastrotrichs found, 143 species, in 24 genera and 6 families, belong to the order Macrodasyida and 131 species, in 11 genera and 3 families, belong to the order Chaetonotida; these statistics include several species as of yet not described. The number of species per location is variable, ranging from 1-37, with a global mean of 8.04  6.69 spp/location. Egypt and Israel show mean values well above the average, with 12.8 and 10.8 spp/loc. respectively, whereas mean values for Algeria, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and France are below average (1- 5.43 spp /location); data for Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Italy are within the average value. Acanthodasys aculeatus, recorded in 28% of the investigated location is the most frequently found macrodasyidan; Halichaetonotus aculifer, also recorded in 28% of the investigated localities, is the most common chaetonotidan whereas. Data analysis indicated substantial differences among countries, regarding sampling effort and, consequently, faunistic knowledge. In comparison with the generally good information concerning the Italian fauna (177 species from 246 localities), gastrotrichs from other Mediterranean nations are much less known; along with Italy, only few other Nations have been investigated to a sufficient extent (i.e., Greece: 44 sampled localities, 77 recorded species; France: 37 L, 70 spp; Egypt: 28 L, 81 spp; Israel: 15 L, 55 spp; Cyprus: 9 L, 41 spp), whereas investigation carried out in several other countries can be considered, to a variable degree, incomplete (i.e., Algeria: 16 investigated localities and 11 species found; Romania: 7 L, 30 spp; Tunisia: 5 L, 2 spp; Bulgaria: 3 L, 11 spp; Croatia: 1 L, 12 spp, Spain: 1 L, 3 sp, Malta; 2L, 2 spp.), or nil (e.g., Morocco, Libya, Turkey, Albania). All marine gastrotrich families and most marine genera have representatives in the Mediterranean fauna, notable absences regard the genera Desmodasys, Dinodasys, Planodasys, Prostobuccantia and perhaps Pseudoturbanella; on the other hand representatives of two genera, Emydasys and Dendropodola, are unknown elsewhere in the world except the western Mediterranean. At species level, about 140 taxa have so far been found only in the Mediterranean area, whereas the remainder have some north-Atlantic connections, including several considered as regional cosmopolitans (i.e., reported from at least two Oceans). Within the Mediterranean, the species geographic distribution does not appear to be homogeneous, with several taxa restricted to either the western or to the levantine basin; yet, Italy, Egypt and Israel show the highest numbers of endemic species, 70, 24 and 14 respectively, whereas only one species seems restricted to the Black Sea. A cluster analysis using the Bray-Curtis presence-absence similarity value to examine the relationship between 11 geographic areas, shows a clear separation between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean regions and within this, the Algerian-Tunisian region is separated from and the remaining 9 areas. The latter appear arranged in two main clusters, one including the southern Levantine regions (i.e., Egypt, Israel and Cyprus), the other containing regions of the north-western basin, the Adriatic sea and the two Greek sub-regions. In this cluster, the region comprising coastal France and Forment


2003 - Sex and age sensitivity of Tigriopus fulvus (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) towards two heavy metals (Cd and Cu) [Articolo su rivista]
Faranapova, O.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Onorati, F.; Finoia, M. G.
abstract

The paper reports the results of preliminary toxicity tests monitoring adult and larval stages of T. fulvus survival in presence of two heavy metals (Cu and Cd). Data indicate males as more senisitive than females to presence of both contaminants and nauplii as the most sensitive of all. The ease of culturing and the values of LC50 comparable to those of other test-species suggest the possible use of this meiobenthic crustacean in ecotoxicology studies.


2003 - The interrelationships of the Gastrotricha using nuclear small rRNA subunit sequence data, with an interpretation based on morphology [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Littlewood, D. T. J.; Balsamo, M.; Herniou, E. A.; Cassanelli, Stefano; Manicardi, Gian Carlo; Wirz, A.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Gastrotrichs are meiobenthic invertebrates of obscure origin and unclear phylogenetic alliances. Uncertainties also plague the intra-group relationship with major contrasts between the evolutionary scenarios inferred from morphology or molecules. In this study we analysed partial sequences of the 18S rDNA gene of 18 taxa (14 new and 4 published) to test morphological estimates of gastrotrich phylogeny and to verify whether controversial interrelationships from previous molecular data are due to poor sampling. Data were analysed using both maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood. MP topology was then forced to reflect published morphological estimates and the most parsimonious solutions from each constraint analysis was statistically compared against the unconstrained Solution. MP analysis yielded a single tree with few nodes well supported by bootstrap resampling These included the monophyly of the Chaetonotidae and the internal relationships of the members of this family, with Aspidiophorus appearing as the most basal member. The monophyly of the Turbanellidae was also well supported with some suggestion that its sister group might be Mesodasys. Lepidodasyidae was found to be an unnatural taxon with Lepidodasys forming a separated clade but unrelated also to the Thaumastodermatidae. With the exception of genera Lepidodasys and Neodasys, the Macrodasyida appeared to be resolved separately from the Chaetonotida, and Dactylopodola was resolved as the most basal macrodasyid. ML analysis yielded a tree not too dissimilar from MP, although Doctylopodola and Xenodasys were resolved as a clade. Statistics indicate that the Output from Our MP analysis is compatible with the classical view placing representatives of the two orders within two distinct evolutionary lines. Most of the constrained solutions, except the shortest, corroborate the monophyly of the two orders. whereas all five constrained solutions support also the notion that sees Neodasys as an early divergent clade along the Chaetonotida branch. Thus, results are generally compatible with the hypothesised evolutionary scenario based on morphological data, but are in contrast with previous findings from molecules. Future research should consider using the complete SSU rDNA gene sequence in their analysis and additional genes for deeper resolution.


2002 - An interesting new gastrotrich from littoral meiobenthos (Long Beach Island, USA), with a key to species of Tetranchyroderma (Gastrotricha : Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Marine representatives of the phylum Gastrotricha are reported for the first time from the State of New Jersey, USA. Littoral and shallow sublittoral sediment collected at Ship Bottom oil Long Beach Island, near Atlantic City, yielded 11 species belonging to eight genera in six families in the orders Macrodasyida (four genera in three families) and Chactonotida (four genera in three families). Littoral samples were richer than the one sublittoral sample (7 vs 4 spp.). Among the taxa was a large, undescribed species of Tetranchyroderma characterized by the following key traits: total body length up to 605 mum; cuticular covering complete, made up of pentancres; a pair of cephalic tentacles; dorsal adhesive tubes arranged in dorsal and dorsolateral columns; a pair of ventral adhesive tubes arising from a common base, near the perigenital area only oil the right side; peculiar cuticular openings 'stomata' along the ventrolateral margins of the body: protogynous hermaphroditism. Tetranchyroderma weissi sp. nov. is, at least in the investigated location, restricted to the sediment layers below 20 cm of the intertidal zone, and is able to live in thiobiotic sediment. A key to the described species of the world based oil easily discernible traits, visible in both living and formalin-fixed specimens is provided.


2002 - Gastrotricha [Capitolo/Saggio]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Gastrotricha are an important component of the benthos and periphyton of freshwater habitats, where they can reach densities of up to 100 ind/10 cm-2. However, due to their small size and the difficulties met in their study, gastrotrichs, and especially aspects of their reproduction and ecology, are still poorly known.Gastrotricha are aschelminthes closely related to acoelomates and comprise a phylum divided into two orders: Macrodasyida and Chaetonotida. The Macrodasyida number about 240 species, all but two of which are marine or estuarine. Chaetonotida count 450 species, mainly reported in freshwater. The about 300 gastrotrich species commonly found in inland waters inhabit the water-sediment interface and the aquatic vegetation, especially in eutrophic biotopes, but can occur in the interstitial environment.Some 70 species have been reported from psammic habitats both in lentic and lotic sediments, although less than half of these have been found in running waters. All but two freshwater gastrotrich species belong to the order Chaetonotida, which includes five families and twenty genera Sixteen of these are known exclusively from inland waters, whereas the others include both marine and freshwater species. The most numerous genus is Chaetonotus with 150 freshwater species, for which several taxonomical subdivisions have been. The considerable morphological variability of most freshwater chaetonotids often makes specific identification difficult, and consequently the taxonomy is currently unstable. Recently, a freshwater species belonging to the marine Macrodasyida order (Redudasys fornerisae) was reported by J. Kisielewski in a lentic, interstitial habitat in Brazil. In the same paper, Kisielewski reaffiliates Marinellina flagellata, a rare macrodasyid-like species found only once in running waters in Austria to Macrodasyida.A taxonomic key to worldwide freshwater gastrotrich genera, modified and simplified from those available in the literature is given below.


2002 - Horizontal transfer of genetic materials in Saccharomyces promoted by animals [Articolo su rivista]
Giudici, Paolo; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Zambonelli, C.
abstract

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2002 - Interspecific hybridation by digestive tract of invertebrates as sorce of environmental biodiversity within the Saccaromyces cerevisiae. [Articolo su rivista]
Pulvirenti, Andrea; Zambonelli, C.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Giudici, Paolo
abstract

Interspecific hybridation by digestive tract of invertebrates as sorce of environmental biodiversity within the Saccaromyces cerevisiae


2002 - Interspecific hybridisation by digestive tract of invertebrates as a source of environmental biodiversity within the Saccharomyces cerevisiae [Articolo su rivista]
Pulvirenti, Andrea; C., Zambonelli; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Giudici, Paolo
abstract

In order to verify whether animals can promote the formation of new yeast strains by increasing the chance of encounters between otherwise segregate spores within persistent asci, three invertebrate species representative of the marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems were fed with two different diets composed of one or a combination of two strains of sporulated yeast and the egested material was analyzed for evidence. The digestive apparatus of the tested species is able to break open the asci wall (most probably by enzymatic action) produced in the species belonging to the Saccharomyces sensu stricto group without affecting the viability of the spores contained therein. The spores ejected with the fecal material have a high capacity for agglutination and, in the presence of favorable conditions, can germinate directly or conjugate to form hybrids. Hybrids between strains of the same species give rise to cultures in which the parent characteristics have new combinations. The interspecific hybrids Saccharomyces cerevisiae x Saccharomyces uvarum, although sterile, can propagate by asexual reproduction. These results support the hypothesis of horizontal transfer of genetic material between yeast species and the likelihood of hybrid formation in natural settings, and possibly shed light on the high biodiversity of yeast observed in nature.


2002 - Marine gastrotrich fauna in Corsica (France), with a description of a new species of the genus Tetranchyroderma (Macrodasyida, Thaumastodermatidae) [Capitolo/Saggio]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

A faunistic analysis of the sandy sediment collected from 10 locations along the east (four) and west coasts (six) of Corsica; western Mediterranean Sea, yielded a rich and diverse range of gastrotrichs: 42 species of 18 genera and seven families from the orders Chaetonotida (17 species) and Macrodasyida (25 species). Sublittoral samples were always more species-rich than those from littoral sites; 37 versus nine spp. The gastrotrich fauna from the east coast was more diverse than that from the west coast, both in terms of the total species number (35 spp.: 13 Chaetonotida + 22 Macrodasyida versus 23 spp.: 12 Chaetonotida + 11 Macrodasyida) and the number of species per location (13 +/- 4.2 versus 7.5 +/- 4.0). All but three of the species have previously been reported from other Mediterranean locations. The exceptions are two as yet unidentified species of the genera Cephalodasys and Macrodasys, and Tetranchyroderma inaequitubutatum sp. nov., a thaumastodermatid with pentancrous covering, showing a cluster of ventral adhesive tubes peculiarly located only on the right side and an unusually conspicuous sexual caudal organ. Aspidiophorus paramediterraneus, Chaetonotus apechochaetus, Acanthodasys aculeatus, Paraturbanella teissieri, Pseudostomella etrusca and Tetranchyroderma thysanophorum, present at 50% or more of the investigated locations, are the most common species on the third largest island of the western Mediterranean basin.


2002 - Meiofauna of a dredging disposal site [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; VIRNO LAMBERTI, C.; Pulcini, M.; Pellegrini, D.; DE RANIERI, S.
abstract

The research was carried out at a sea disposal site located in the Ligurian Sea, some miles off the northern coast of Tuscany, Italy. In the site is preferentially dumped material dredged from the harbor of Leghorn, Tuscany. A faunistic survey of sediment cores taken in three impacted stations and in a control site a month after the dumping found representative of 13 major taxa. Abundance showed the usual trends of most meiofaunal studies with nematodes ranking first followed by harpacticoid copepods nauplii and polychaetes. While Anova cannot detect statistically significant differences between density of total meiofauna and most major taxa in the impacted vs a control site, Cluster analysis allocate on a separated branch the station subject to major discharge.


2002 - Reproductive system and spermatozoa of Paraturbanella teissieri (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida): implications for sperm transfer modality in Turbanellidae [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Ferraguti, M.; Guidi, L.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

The morphology of the reproductive apparatus of several species of Turbanellidae, which are sequential hermaphrodites, has been studied for a comparison with that of other Gastrotricha Macrodasyida, which are simultaneous hermaphrodites. The common structural plan of the genital system of Turbanellidae includes two testes which extend into two sperm ducts turning, anteriorly and fusing in a midventral pore, two ovaries with oocytes maturing in a cephalic direction and only one accessory organ, a seminal receptacle, provided with an external pore. A possible sperm transfer modality alternative to that described in the literature is advanced. Spermatological characters of Paraturbanella teissieri have been compared with those of the two Turbanella species studied up to date. Turbanellidae share with other Macrodasyida the general model of spermatozoon, but are the only representatives of this taxon known so far which have sperm devoid of the striated cylinder around the axoneme. Both the structure of the reproductive apparatus and the fine morphology of the spermatozoa of Turbanellidae species agree with the evolutionary view, recently supported by morphological and molecular data, which puts this taxon on a separate clade, early divergent from the stem lineage of Macrodasyida.


2001 - Inventario dei gastrotrichi marini italiani: una checklist annotata [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Hummon, W. D.; Balsamo, M.; Fregni, E.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Inventory of the Italian marine Gastrotricha: an annotate checklist. Thanks to the extensive research carried out in the past decade, the Italian marine gastrotricofauna is nowadays that best know worldwide. The heterogeneity of data acquired over more than a century, along with the difficulty of getting the original bibliography, often makes troublesome the integration of the old with the new information, a vital tasks without which comprehensive analysis are precluded. To overcome these problems we have tried to organize the available data in a format readily accessible to researchers, and technicians and decision-makers dealing with faunistic and/or marine ecology duty. Present data are organized in two series of complementary tables, one focused on the collecting locations (234), reporting the species found along with relative benthic zone of finding, the researchers involved, year of collection, and related bibliography; whilst the other is centered on the 189 species found so far (75 chaetonotids in 10 genera and 2 families; 114 macrodasyids in 22 genera and 6 families), and their geographic distribution reported by region, province and location. The most intensively investigated region is Tuscany with 50 localities involved and 97 species collected (9.4 ± 7.5 spp/loc), whereas the richest region is Campania with 101 species found in just 30 localities sampled (13.0 ± 8,1 spp/loc). The number of species per station is variable, ranging from 1 to 36, with a global mean of 8.5 ± 7.1 spp/loc. Halichaetonotus aculifer, present in 36% of the examined locations, results the most common chaetonotid, whereas among the macrodasyids, the most common species is Acanthodasys aculeatus, found in 28% of the investigated localities. The species geographic distribution is not homogeneous, however from dedicated tables it is possible to detect the coastal tract where the frequency of occurrence of a given species is higher. The Italian endemisms are 70 (36% of total species found), of which 32 exhibit a distribution confined to just one of the 15 investigated regions; the type localities are 53.


2001 - Monitoring of a dredged material disposal site: evidence of rapid meiofaunal recolonization of the dumped sediments [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; VIRNO LAMBERTI, C.; Pulcini, M.; Pellegrini, D.; DE RANIERI, S.
abstract

The research was carried out at a sea disposal site located in the Ligurian Sea, some miles off the northern coast of Tuscany, Italy. In the site is preferentially dumped material dredged from the harbor of Leghorn. A faunistic survey of sediment cores taken in three impacted stations found evidence of rapid meiofaunal recolonization of the damped material; furthermore, two weeks after the dumping we cannot detect statistically significant differences between density of total meiofauna and most major taxa in the impacted vs a control site.


2001 - Tigripus fulvus (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) a possible test-species in harbour sediment toxicity bioassessment: life cycle and preliminary bioassays [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Faranapova, O.; Onorati, F.; Pellegrini, D.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

The paper reports on the successful attempt of keeping at low-cost massive laboratory cultures of the Mediterranean splash-pool harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus fulvus. The life history traits of the Tuscanian strain, and the results of two preliminary bioassays monitoring T. fulvus survival in presence of compounds generally found in harbor dredged material (i.e. petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals), both suggest the possible use of this meiobentic species in ecotoxicology studies.


2000 - A new species of Urodasys (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) from dysoxic sediments of the Santa Barbara Basin (California, USA) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Bernhard, J. M.; Hummon, W. D.
abstract

Numerous specimens belonging to an undescribed macrodasyid gastrotrich species were recovered during a survey of the biota associated with the severely dysoxic sediments of the Santa Barbara Basin, off California, U.S.A. Densities of this species reach 10 specimens cm(-2). Urodasys anorektoxys sp. nov. is described and figured. Specimens of this taxon attain the largest size within the genus; body, excluding the motile rail, is up to 1100 mu m in length. Adults are protandric, then simultaneous hermaphrodites and lack a stylet-like sexual structure; the main morphological traits include (1) a unitary ventral ciliary field, and (2) a pharyngeal region that bears a total of 14 pairs of adhesive tubes, 12 pairs ventrolaterally and two pairs dorsolaterally. The systematic position of the new species is discussed.


2000 - I Policheti meiobentonici delle Secche della Meloria [Articolo su rivista]
Casu, D.; Milella, I.; Castelli, A.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Meiobenthìc polychaetes from the Meloria Shoals have been studied over one year period. Fourty species have been found. Saccocirrus papillocercus, Nerillidium mediterraneum, Polyophthalmus pictus and Protodorvillea kefersteini resulted the most abunclani species- The community strutture scems mainly related to occasional hydrodynamic events.


1999 - Copepodi arpacticoidi delle secche della Meloria: segnalazione di generi nuovi per l'Italia [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A preliminary taxonomic survey of the speciniens making up the harpacticoid copepod community associateti with the coarse, organogenic santi of the Meloria shoals (Livorno, Italy) yielded four species belonging to four genera new to the Italian Fauna: Interleptomesocra attenuata, Cylindropsyllus ibericus, Leptopontia mediterranea, and Syrticola mediterraneus. The findig represents the first record of C. ibericus front the Mediterranean Sea.


1999 - Diversity and dynamics of an interstitial Tardigrada population in the Meloria Shoals, Liguria Sea, with a redescription of Batellipes similis (Heterotardigrada, Batillipedidae) [Articolo su rivista]
D'Addabbo, M.; GRIMALDI DE ZIO, S.; MORONE DE LUCIA, M.; Pietanza, R.; D'Addabbo, R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Quantitative samples of sediment for tbc study of the meiofauna were collected monthly beween March 1996 and February 1997 from a 7-m-deep site in tbc Meloria Shoals, Livorno Italy. In tbc Tuscan Shoals, 16 species of tardigrades were found belonging to tbc families Stygarctidae, Halechiniscidae, and Batillipedidac. Megastygarctides orbiculatus and Actinarctus doryPborus are reported for tbc first time in tbc Mediterranean Sea, and a redescription of Batillipes similis is proposed. Global density of . tbc Tardigrada population fluctuated between 8 ind./10 cm2 in May 1996 and 285 ind./10 cm2 in January 1997. The lowest valite of tbc Shannon-Wiener biodiversity index (H' = 1.09) was found in September 1996, whereas the highest score (H' = 2.46) was obtamed in March 1996. Pielou's evenness index (J) fluctuated between 0.40 and 0.88, values attamed in January 1997 and March 1996, respectively. The study confirms the notion that tbc organogenic detritus of the Shoals represents a very favourable environment for meiofauna) organisms in generai, and Tardigrada in particular.


1998 - A new species and first report of the genus Nanaloricus (Loricifera, Nanaloricida, Nanaloricidae) from the Mediterranean Sea [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Kristensen, R. M.
abstract

Several loriciferans representing different developmental stages were recovered during a meiobenthic survey of the coarse, organogenic, sand of the Meloria shoals, Livorno, Italy. Loriciferans were found in low numbers and only in few of the monthly samples collected over a 15-month period. Adults and postlarvae were always found in the upper 15 cm of the sediment, while the presence of larvae was noted down to 30-35 cm. A taxonomic analysis revealed that all specimens belong to an undescribed species of the genus Nanaloricus. Diagnosis and description of Nanaloricus kaitatus n. sp. is given based on the aduli, postlarval, and larva) stages. This is the first report ever of loriciferans from Italian waters, and the first record of the genus Nanaloricus in the Mediterranean Sea. The presence of these rare animals is indicative of the high naturalistic value of this coastal area of Tuscany.


1998 - Italian marine Gastrotricha: V. Four new and one redescribed species of Macrodasyida in the Dactylopodolidae and Thaumastodermatidae [Articolo su rivista]
Hummo, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo; Balsamo, M.
abstract

Four species new to science are described and figured from the Italian coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and its adjacent waters: the Mediterranean Dactylopodola m&3sotyphIe n, sp. in the family Dactylopodolidae, a neotenous sibling species of the more geographically ubiquitous D. typb1e Remane, 1927, is differentrateci from the latter botti morphologically and biogeographically. Of three species of Tc Iran cbyroderma: T aphenothigmum n. sp., T psilotopum n. sp., and T symphorochetuìn n. sp. in the family Thaumastodermatidae, the first and third have a complete dorsal covering of tetrancres, while the second has an incomplete covering of pentancres. The species Dendrodasys qffinis Wilke, 1954 in the family Dactylopodolidae is redescribed, and figured for the first time, from specimens collected in littoral and shallow sublittoral sedimenta near Naples.


1998 - Meiofauna from the Meloria Shoals: Gastrotricha, biodiversity and seasonal dynamics [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The gastotrichs taxocene from the Meloria Shoals was studied over one year period from four sets of samples each consisting of four replicate cores filled with 15 cni' of coarse organogenic sand. San2ples avere taken from a bottoni pit, at 7.0 m water depth, three months apart each other. Faunal analysis yielded 18 species and mean density of 228 ind/core. The highest number o.fspecies, 16, occurred in Ju1y while the Shannon- Wiener entropy (H') peaked in October (2.112). Diplodasys ankeli and Platydasys ruber resulted as the most abundant taxa throughout the study except in January when Platydasy ocellatus became the dominant species. species richness and high biodiversity of the locai meiofauna make the shallow Meloria shoals a place of great naturalistic value, worth to be preserved.


1998 - Meiofauna from the Meloria Shoals: observation on a new Leptastacidae (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Huys, R.
abstract

The organogenic sand of the Meloria Shoals hosts a rich meiobentic comnwnity. Particularly diverse appears the harpacicoid copepod assemblage that includes several undecribed specíes; among these, one belonging to the family Leptastacidae Lang, shows several unique plesionìorphic character states unreported in the family. This specie is found all the year around reaching a peck of density, 2750 ind./m2, during early spring .


1998 - Meiofauna, non solo look [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Viene descritta la comunità della meiofauna focalizzandosi sull' l'importanza che riveste nella catena alimentare ma anche come possibile strumento sia in acquacoltura (come alimento vivo) sia negli studi di biomonitoraggio


1998 - Preliminary evaluation of the use of phosphogypsum for reef substrate. II. A study of the effects of phosphogypsum exposure on diversity and biomass of acquatic organisms [Articolo su rivista]
Wilson, C. A.; Nieland, D. L.; Fleeger, J. W.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Malone, R. F.; Rusch, K. A.
abstract

The effects of cement consolidateti phosphogvpsum (PG) ori marine organisms was investigateti under natural conditions in four 1000 M2 estuarine ponds. Two ponds were seeded with 160 kg of PG arranged in agl-re-gations of blocks and two ponds received similar mass of santi/cement blocks. Meiofauna were sampled quarterly and PG diti not affect total meiofauna or major taxa (nematodes and copepods) density. Abundant species of copepods either were slightly increased in ponds with PG or were inconsistently affected.A11 ponds were drained after one year. Three species of macroinvertebrates and 15 species of fishes were colleeted. Diversity indices showed modest but inconsistent variation among ponds. Only Pond 1 (contro!) and Pond 4 (experimental) had similar species abundances and all ponds showed unique distributions of biomasses among species. Thus, no differences in community structure attributable to tbc presenee of PG could be detected amorig benthie invertebrates, natant invertebrates, or fishes.


1998 - Preliminary evaluation of the use of phosphogypsum for reef substrate. II. A study of the effects of phosphogypsum exposure on diversity and biomass of aquatic organisms [Articolo su rivista]
Wilson, C. A.; Nieland, D. L.; Fleeger, J. W.; Todaro, A.; Malone, R. F.; Rusch, K. A.
abstract

The effects of cement consolidated phosphogypsum (PG) on marine organisms was investigated under natural conditions in four 1000 m2 estuarine ponds. Two ponds were seeded with 160 kg of PG arranged in aggregations of blocks and two ponds received similar mass of sand/cement blocks. Meiofauna were sampled quarterly and PG did not affect total meiofauna or major taxa (nematodes and copepods) density Abundant species of copepods either were slightly increased in ponds with PG or were inconsistently affected. All ponds were drained after one year. Three species of macroinvertebra tes and 15 species of fishes were collected. Diversity indices showed modest but inconsistent variation among ponds. Only Pond 1 (control) and Pond 4 (experimental) had similar species abundances and all ponds showed unique distributions of biomasses among species. Thus, no differences in community structure attributable to the presence of PG could be detected among benthic invertebrates, natant invertebrates, or fishes.


1997 - Il popolo della sabbia [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

vengono escritti ed illustrati mediante foto al microscopio elettronico a scansione gli oranismi meiobentonici rinvenuti nelle secche della Meloria.


1997 - Italian marine Gastrotricha: IV. Four new species of Chaetonotida [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Four new marine species of Gastrotricha Chaetonotida from the Italian coasts are described and figured: Aspidiophorus lamellophorus, Cbaetonotus (Eucbaetonotus) magnjficus, C. (E.) mediterraneus, Halicbaetonotus italicus.


1997 - Meloriastacus ctenidis gen. et sp. nov.: a primitive interstitial copepod (Harpacticoida, Leptastacidae) from Tuscany [Articolo su rivista]
Huys, R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new interstitial copepod, Meloriastacus ctenidis gen. et sp. nov. (Harpacticoida, Leptastacidae), is described from the shallow Meloria Shoals, Tuscany (Italy). It represents the most primitive leptastacid known to date, displaying several unique plesiomorphic character states previously unknown in the family. A sistergroup relationship with Archileptastacus Huys is suggested on the basis of the detailed structure of the caudal ramus, the fifth legs, the distai endopodal armature of P2-P4 and the presence of spinule rows on either sfide of the anal opening. The ancestral leptastacid condition for the P5 setation is re-assessed and the homology of the caudal ramus setae discusseti. The structure of the mouthparts in Meloriastacus suggests that mucus-trap feeding was adopted only secondarily in the evolution of the family.


1996 - Are meiofaunal species cosmopolitan? Morphological and molecular analysis of Xenotrichula intermedia (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotida) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Fleeger, J. W.; Hu, Y. P.; Hrincevich, A. W.; Folz, D. W.
abstract

Many meiofaunal species are reported to be cosmopolitan, bue due to uncertainties of identification, the affiliation of specimens from geographically distant areas to the same species-taxon is problematic. In this study, we examined morphological and molecular variation in samples of Xenotrichula intermedia Remane (Gastrotricha: Chaetonotida) from the Mediterranean Sea, the northwestern Atlantic and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Univariate analysis of 16 morphological traits was unable to detect differences among populations, except for the length of the pharynx, which was significantly shorter in the Gulf of Mexico specimens. Canonical discriminane analysis separateti the Gulf of Mexico specimens from the other two populations, with pharynx length contributing about half of the total discrimination. Molecular analysis based ori restriction-fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) in a 710-base pair polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) produci representing roughly half of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene detected four haplotypes: one each from the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico populations and two coexisting within the Atlantic population. The estimated nucleotide sequence divergence calculated for each pairwise combination of haplotypes (based ori the proportion of shared fragments) ranged from 5.3 to 11.5%. The high genetic divergence and the inability to clearly separate populations based ori morphology suggest that individuals characterized by different haplotypes are genetically isolated sibling species.


1996 - Contaminant fluxes from sediment due to Tubifex bioturbation [Articolo su rivista]
Reible, D. D.; Popov, V.; Valsaraj, K. T.; Thibodeaux, L. J.; Lin, F.; Dikshit, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Fleeger, J. W.
abstract

The release of the hydrophobic organic compounds pyrene, dibenzofuran and phenanthrene from bioturbated freshwater sediments was studied in laboratory microcosms. Initial Tubificid oligochaete densities of 0, 6700 and 2.67 x 10' individuala - m` were employed. Under oxygen saturateti conditions, the differenee between the contaminant fluxes from the high-density bioturbated microcosms and controls remained essentially constane at 37 and 70 ng • cm` - d` for pyrene and phenanthrene, respectively, corresponding io effective mass transfer coefficients of 0.16 and 0.37 cm/y. Under hypoxic conditions, worm defecation on the sediment surface increased and led to significantly increased fluxes to a maximum of 380, 490 and 940 ng - cm-2 • d`, for pyrene, phenanthrene and dibenzofuran, respectively. Average bioturbation fluxes in the high-density microcosms of 246, 258 and 310 ng - cm` - d-' for the respective compounds corresponded to effective mass transfer coefficients of 1.7, 3.2, and 7.5 cm/yr. Initial release ratea from medium-density microcosms (25% of high density) were typically hall the release rate of the high-density microcosms, indicating greater organism aetivity per individua[ at the lower density. The increased flux with the more soluble compounds likely reflects more rapiti release at the sediment surface and the increased importance of porewater pumping over sediment partiele reworking for migration of these compounds.


1996 - Influence of polyciclic aromatic hydrocarbons on the meiobenthic-copepod community of a Louisiana salt marsh [Articolo su rivista]
Carman, K. R.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The influence of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the meiobenthic copepod community of a Louisiana salt marsh was examined with microcosms of sediment containing natural l'aunal assembiages. Microcosms were dosed with PAH-contaminateti sediment that ranged in concentration from 0.3 (controls) io 27 mg PAH/kg dry sediment, and effects were followed for 28 days. Data suggest that highest doses (High-PAH) elicited avoidance behavior by Pseudostenhelia wellsi (Coull and Fleeger) copepods and nauplii, particularly 12 h after contaminants were added (Day 0). Weaker avoidance behavior was indicateti in non-P. wellsi species that was manifested as increases in nauplius/copepod ratios. Nematode/copepod ratios were calculated for each of 4 species (P. wellsi, Coullana sp., Enhydrosoma sp., and Onv(-hocanipttis nzohwwned (Blanchard and Richard)); only nematode/P. wellsi ratios were significantly affected by PAH. High-PAH treatments allo lead to a higher proportion of females in P. wellsi and Coullana sp. This effect was only observed from Day 7 on and is interpreted as an indication of disproportionately high mortality of males. Collectively, our data demonstrate that relatively low-level PAH contamination may cause many ecologically important impacts on copepod community structure that may noi be detected at the level of higher taxon.


1996 - Italian marine Gastrotricha: III. Four new pentancrous species of the genus etranchyroderma (Macrodasyida, Thaumastodermatidae) [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Of the thaumastodermatid gastrotrichs that avere collected in the years 1989-1991, during a faunistic survey of the Italian coasts, several have been placed in the genus Tetrancbyroderma. On the basir of their distinctive morphological characters, four that bear pentancres are being described as new species, three with a complete dorsal covering of ancres: T kontosomum, T polyprobolostomum, T tanymesatberum, and one with an incomplete covering: T anomalopsum.


1996 - Meiofaunal recolonization experiment in oiled sediments [Capitolo/Saggio]
Fleeger, J. W.; Shirley, T. C.; Carls, M. G.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

To gain insights into long-term studies of the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the meiobenthos, a coionization experiment was iniciated in 1990. Unweathered Exxoon Valdez crude oil was mixed with azoic sediment to pregare low (26 = 3µg -` tocal aromatica) and high (210 = 12 A-` total aromatica) treatments of oiled sedimenta. The resulting mixtures, and azoie sedíment without oil as a controi, were added io triplicate colonization trays and buried flusti with the surface of two beaches ricar mean low water in Herring Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska. Hydrocarbon concentrations tended to deciine with time. Trays and ambient sedimenta were sampied by coring and harpaeticoid copepod species enumerateti on days 0, 1, 1_ and 28. Harpacricoids (more than 40 species) were mostly phytai associates from surrounding e--lgrass beds. Colonization was rapiti (approaching, ambient levels in 1-2 d), espedaJly in coniroi and low-oil treatments. High-oil treatments exbíóited sitmifiwrltly reduced densities of toral harpacticoids and of two rapicily colonizing species (Haiecnnosoma sp. and iVfesochra ~aea) especially ori days 1 and 2. Two siower coloni= (,Paralaophonte perpiew and Amphiascus minurus) were unaffecied by oil additions. Detrended correspondenee analysis identified oil effects on che harpacticoid assemblaggi among tbc treatment-:aie cogecrions. Ambient samples from all dares segregateti from experimentals and were tightly clustered- Day 1 and 2 low- and high-oil treatments clustered together as diti contro!, low-, and high-cíl sedimenti; from day 28. Controi day 1 and 2 coilecrions were intermediate. 7rius, results suggest that an oil effect on migration and colonization was detectable, but for fewer than 28 d.


1995 - Gastrotrichi del Trentino: le Viotte del Monte Bondone [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Gastrotrich fauna from pools in the area of Viotte of Monte Bondone (Trento) is reported. Five new species (Chaetonotus (Euchaetonotus) arethusae, C. (E.) daphnes, C. (E.) naiadis, C. (Hystricocliaetonottis) italicus and lchiliycliuni diacani/nun) and two new io Italian fauna (Aspidiophorus cfr. heterodermus and Ichth),ditan forficula) are described. A qualitative difference between the gastrotrich fauna from petit-bo- pools and that from morenie pools is pointed out.


1995 - La meiofauna: una risorsa per l'acquacoltura ed uno strumento per il controllo dell'ambiente [Capitolo/Saggio]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Vengono fornite informanioni rigurado la meiofuna e l'utilizzo dei diversi grupi nell'ambito del monitoraggio ambientale e quale possible alimento vivo nella itticoltura


1995 - Marine gastrotrichs from Sicily (Italy) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.
abstract

A wide research project on marine gastrotrichs of the Italian coasts was begun by the working group on gastrotrichs of the University of Modena (Italy), in collaboration with Prof. W.D Hummon of the University of Athens (Ohio, U.S.A). The researchi aims at an exaustve knowledge of the Italian fauna, which allows the writing of a volume of Fauna d'Italia on the phylum Gastrotricha. Studies were begun in the North Tyrrhenian Sea and recently integrated and extended to numerous sites along the Italian coasts. The number of species known for Italy has been increased from 92 to more than 140: as a result of these efforts, the Italian fauna is today the best known of the Mediterranean area


1995 - Marine gastrotrichs from the sandy beaches of the northern Gulf of Mexico: species list and distribution [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Fleeger, J. W.; Hummon, W. D.
abstract

In this meio-faunistic survey along the northern toast of the Gulf of Mexico, gastrotrichs were found in sand collected mostly from beaches on barrier islands. Sediment from Florida and Alabama contained the largest species number. South Texas collecting sites also hosted a very diverse gastrotrich fauna. Paucitubulate Chaetonotida, previously unreported from the area, accounted for about one half of the 45 species encountered. After comparing locai specimens also with high resolution videosequences of individuals collected from distant geographic regions, the amphi-Atlantic and/or cosmopolitan distribution of 27 of these species, is confirmed.


1995 - Paraturbanella solitaria a new psammic species (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida), from the coast of California [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A new species of marine gastrotrich is described. Adulte of Paraturbanella solitaria new species are simultaneous hermaphroditic, ribbon shaped, up to 530 um long and up to 64 um wide. The head bears a pair of sensorial piston pits and its anterior-most portion is hexagonally shaped. The adhesive apparatus consiste of anterior and posterior adhesive tubules in addition to bilateral "Seitenfiißchen" organs that take origin in the middle of the pharyngeal region. The new species is placed and discusseti within the "teissieri" species assemblaggi. This is the first gastrotrich reported from the coast of California.


1994 - Chaetonotus triacanthus and Heteroxenotrichula texana, two new chaetonotid gastrotrichs from the Gulf of Mexico [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The first paucitubulatine chaetonotid gastrotrichs are reported from tbc Gulf of Mexico. Chaetonotus triacanthus n. sp. and Heteroxenotrichula texana n. sp. are described from sandy sediment collected along the northern part of Padre Island, Texas, U.S.A. C. triacanthus is characterized by sbort lamella-bearing spines on tbc dorsal side of head and neck, three long spines on the dorsal posterior end, and a pair of three-keeled scales on tbc furcal base. H. texana belongs to the "subterranea Il -species group, and is characterized by pedunculated scales that cover the posterior half of the ventral side.


1993 - Eutrophication and gastrotrich diversity in the Northern Adriatic Sea [Articolo su rivista]
Evans, W. A.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Hummon, W. D.
abstract

Marine Gastrotricha of littoral and sublittoral sands at nine locations along the northern Adriatic coast were sampled during July, 1991. Three locations on barrier islands near the Laguna Veneta (Alberoni, San Nicolò, and Punta Sabbioni) supported a higher number of species in the littoral and shallow sublittoral zones (six each) than were reported by Hummon et al. (1990), who found no species at the saure sites in 1989. The increased number of species may be related to colder temperatures during the winter previous to our study, which delayed formation of alga] mais in the littoral zone, preventing the depletion of oxygen in the littoral sediments that can lead to gastrotrich mortality. Locations in the northeastern Adriatic, Bibione (13 species) and Foce Isonzo (15 species), evidenced a more diverse gastrotrich fauna than the more northwestern locations, and may serve as a source for colonizing species, moved with longshore currents, to westward populations subject to extinction due to loca( anoxic events.


1993 - Italian Marine Gastrotricha: II. One new genus and ten new species of Macrodasyida. [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

A new genus, Dendropodola, and species, D. transitionalis, are described in the family Dactylopodolidae. Three new species, Cepbaloda,sys badrosomus, Mesodasys adenotubulatus, and Mesodasys ischiensis, are described in the family Lepidodasyidae. And, six new species, Pseudostomella etrusca, Ptychostomella tyrrbenica, Tetranchyroderma beterotubulatum, Tetranchyroderma bypopsi1ancrum, Tetranchyroderma pachysomum, and Tetranchyroderma thysanophorum, are described in the family Thaumastodermatidae. Al] were collected in litiosi and shallow sublittoral sedimenta along the Italian coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and its adjacent waters.


1992 - Contribution to the study of the Mediterranean meiofauna: Gastrotricha from the Island of Ponza, Italy [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Twenty species, 8 Chaetonotida and 12 Macrodasyida, are reported from the Island of Ponza. Among the Chaetonotida, Chaetonotus mariae is new to science. It is characterized by peculiar round scales, each with numerous ridges radiating from the base of the spine. Among the Macrodasyida, Diplodasys minor is redescribed, and Platydasys phacellatus is reported for the second time. The Italian geographic distribution and the species-substratum relationship are also analyzed.


1992 - Italian marine Gastrotricha: I. Six new and one redescribed species of Chaetonotida [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

The species Chaetonotus lacunosus Mock, 1979 is redescribed and refigured from specimens collected in littoral and shallow sublittoral sedimenta along the entire Italian coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and its adjacent waters. Six species new to science are described and figured: Chaetonotus apecbochaetus, C. apolemmus, C. siciliensis, Halichaetonotus etrolomus, H. margaretae, and H. thalassopais. The proper nomenclature for Halichaetonotus decipiens (Remane, 1929) is notecl, and a new combination is given: .111useWler delamarei (Renaud-Mornant, 1968) n. comb.


1992 - Marine gastrotrichs from the Tuscan Archipelago (Tyrrhenian Sea): I. Macrodasyida, with description of three new species [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

The sediments from 16 localitie s (8 from the Island of Elba, 3 from the lsland of Giglio, and 5 from the Island of Capraia) yielded several hundreds of specimens, all identified. Theey belong two 28 species in 1l genera in 5 familices. Of the three island, Elba, with 25 species, proved to be the richest, followed bv Capraia, with l8 species, and finally by Giglio with only 8 species. Diplotdasys meloriae, Tetranchyrorlerma quadritentaculatum, and T. sanctaecaterinae are new to science. Tetranchlroderma cirropbora is new for the Italian fauna.


1992 - Marine gastrotrichs from the Tuscan Archipelago (Tyrrhenian Sea): II. Chaetonotida, with description of three new species. [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Twenty-three species of chetonotid gastrotrichs are reported from three islands of the Tuscan Archipelago (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy . The island of Elba is the largest in the archipelago and has the most sand beaches. It possesses the greatest diversity of gastrotrich fauna, with 17 known species. The island of Capraia ranks second with 12 species, and the island of Giglio is third with 8 species. Chaetonotus napoleonicus from the island of Elba and Chaetonotus aegilonensis together with Halicbaetonotus marivagus, both from the island of Capraia, are described as new species. A clarification of the diagnostic characters of C. atrox, C. dispar and C. neptuni is given. Xenotrichula carolinensis is synonymized with X. intermedia.


1990 - Effects of pollution on marine gastrotricha in the northwestern Adriatic Sea [Articolo su rivista]
Hummon, W. D.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

The barrier islands and coast south and east ofVenice,Italy, were sampled in parallel to the work of Schromtwo decades ago. Where he found 49 site records for 24species ofgastrotrichs at 8 sites,5 littoral and 3 shallowsublittoral, we found 5 site records for 2 species at 9sites, 5 littoral and 4 shallow sublittoral. We had no siterecords from littoral sites; one specieso Dolichodasyselongatrr, occurred at all sublittoral sites. Fromother locations (n:15) in our present survey of theItalian coastline, where we have paired littoral:sublittoralsites, we have found 6.7 (10.9) species in theformer and 8.0 (10.9) in the latter. The absence ofgastrotrichs in samples from all five littoral sites and thedominance of D. elongalus in sublittoral sites is clearevidence as to the severity of pollution in this area.However, five species were found in a sample from thetop of a longshore bar at one location, indicating that atype of local refugium exists from which future recolonizationof the remaining habitat could proceed, ifthe input of pollutants can tre reversed.


1988 - Life history traits of two chaetonotids (Gastrotricha) under different experimental conditions [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

A marine and a freshwater species of Chaetonotida (Gastrotricha) were reared under laboratory conditions. Their life tables and principal demographic parameters were determined at 2 different temperatures (20"and 25'C). At 25'C the data relative to the marine species were collected from 5 cohorts kept at 5 different salinity levels (15, 25, 35, 45, 557..). A higher temperature increases reproductive activity while shortening its duration in both species, whereas the length of the lifespan remains unaffected.Extreme salinity values (15 and 55'/".) reduce the maximum longevityof the marine species and have opposite effects on reproductive activity,which is higher at low salinity and becomes lower at high salinity. Thepostparthenogenetic phase is remarkably long relative to the life cycle: thiswas observed in all experimental conditions and may be related to the existenceof a second reproductive phase, which is hermaphroditic and followsthe parthenogenetic one, as recently postulated from morphological data.


1988 - Tetranchyroderma sardum, a new species of the family Thaumastodermatidae (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) [Articolo su rivista]
Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello; Balsamo, M.; Tongiorgi, Paolo
abstract

Tetranchyroderma sardumt, a new species of macrodasyid gastrotrich, was found in litoral sancl from Sardinia. lt is characterizecl bJ-: 1. two pairs of cephalic tentacles, one rod-like and the other knoblike; 2. twenty-two pairs of ventrolateral adhesive tubes; 3. thrce furcal adhesive tubes and 4. thirteen longituclinai rows of pen tancres. T. sardum closely resembles T. esarabdophorum and T. antennata, both collectecl from the Mediterranean Sea.


1987 - Aspidiophorus polystictos, a new marine species (Gastrotricha, Chaetonotida) and its life cycle [Articolo su rivista]
Balsamo, M.; Todaro, Mary Antonio Donatello
abstract

Aspidiophorus polistictos, a new marine species of Gastrotricha Chaetonotida is described and compared with the species of the group A. marinus - A. mediterraneas. This species is characterized by the subrectangular shape of the scales. The life cycle of individuals reared under laboratory conditions is described for the first time in marine Chaetonotida. A parthenogenetic phase precedes a hermaphroditic phase as in several freshwater Chaetonotidae.