New records of ascidians (Tunicata, Ascidiacea) from Mandapam coast, Gulf of Mannar, India
Mohammed Kaleem Arshan ML, Kaleemullah Khan B, Abdul Jaffar Ali H
An investigation on the ascidian fauna in Mandapam coast, Gulf of Mannar, India was carried out to update the diversity and new record of ascidians. Out of 38 species of ascidians belonging to 14 genera and 7 families recorded, Rhodosoma turcicum, Symplegma brakenhielmi, Microcosmus helleri, M. squamiger, Eudistoma amplum,Polyclinum madrasensis, Didemnum perlucidum, Diplosoma gelatinosa, and Lissoclinum patella were new to this station and two species of Polyclinum were new to science. Three species such as Polyandrocarpa zorritensis, Diplosoma gelatinosa and D. translucidum were first time report to India. The number of species was high in pre-monsoon, followed by summer, post-monsoon and monsoon seasons. This study represents a first step in documenting the ascidian communities in Mandapam coast and provides a baseline of local diversity of ascidians against which it will be possible to determine whether the diversity of ascidians change over time. Similar studies with detailed taxonomic investigations in other parts of North east coast of India would yield rich haul of ascidians in Indian coast.