The genus Cunea Kudryavtsev and Pawlowski, 2015 (Amoebozoa, Dactylopodida) was initially described from the oceanic benthos: C. profundata, from over 5 km depth in the Atlantic Ocean, and C. thuwala from the Red Sea benthos at ca. 60 m depth. Both species are identical to each other in morphology (including cell coat ultrastructure), but differ significantly in the gene sequence data, including barcoding loci of small subunit ribosomal RNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene, as well as actin. This paper describes the third species of Cunea, C. russae n. sp. isolated from a brackish water habitat without a direct connection to the ocean, a small spring of brackish water (19‰) emerging from a 246 m deep hole in the earth. This species is morphologically identical to the previous two amoebae, but differs from them significantly in the gene sequence data and ecological preferences. In particular, this species has the broadest salinity tolerance range, being able to reproduce well already at 2.5‰. It is also capable of resisting cold temperatures, like C. profundata. The data obtained suggest that the genus Cunea may comprise a significant taxonomic diversity represented by morphologically identical, but quickly diverging species with significant ecological plasticity.
|Journal||European Journal of Protistology|
|Early online date||5 Feb 2020|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2020|