Echinoderms from the Gulf of Venezuela, north-western coast of Venezuela

Authors

  • Nínive Espinoza-Rodríguez Universidad del Zulia (LUZ), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología, Laboratorio de Ecología General (LEG). Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6133-267X
  • Yumara Pernía Universidad del Zulia (LUZ), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología, Laboratorio de Sistemática de Invertebrados Acuáticos (LASIA). Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela. http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4079-3730
  • Héctor Severeyn Universidad del Zulia (LUZ), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología, Laboratorio de Sistemática de Invertebrados Acuáticos (LASIA). Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela. http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4200-1602
  • Yajaira García de Severeyn Universidad del Zulia (LUZ), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología, Laboratorio de Cultivo de Invertebrados Acuáticos (LACIA). Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7099-5531
  • Héctor Barrios-Garrido Universidad del Zulia (LUZ), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología, Laboratorio de Ecología General (LEG). Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela; James Cook University (JCU), Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER). Townsville, QLD, Australia. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7027-2656

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021.61.51

Keywords:

Marine invertebrates, Venezuelan Guajira Peninsula, Coral reefs, Seagrass beds

Abstract

Echinoderms are a major group of marine invertebrates that often play integral roles within the marine ecosystem. Studies about their occurrence, abundance, and distribution in Venezuela are focused in the central-eastern coasts; hence the aim of this study is to describe the echinoderm community in the north-western coast of the Gulf of Venezuela. Samples were collected from three sites in the Venezuelan Guajira Peninsula (Castilletes, Porshoure, and Kazuzain) where patchy coral reefs and seagrass meadows are abundant. According to the substrate, two methods were performed using quantitative (1 m² quadrates), and qualitative free-diving observations. All organisms were counted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level; finally, diversity (Shannon diversity index), richness (number of species), and dominance in the different sampled substrates were recorded. The updated list of echinoderms of the Gulf of Venezuela reported in this research, includes 20 genera, 15 families, 10 orders, four classes, and 28 species. The richest class was Ophiuroidea, with 18 species, followed by Asteroidea, Echinoidea and Holothuroidea, with three species each. Castilletes was the sampling site with the higher number of species (18 species), followed by Porshoure (15 species), and lastly Kazuzain (12 species). Our observations indicate that the number of species and abundance were higher when found in coral reefs (21 species, 80.69% of the total collected individuals) in contrast to the species found in seagrass beds (16 species, 19.31% of the total of individuals collected). This updated list of echinoderms represents 11.54% of the total diversity of the phylum in the marine areas from the coast of Venezuela; it is suggested that this percentage is greatly influenced by the differences of habitats and substrates alongside the north-western coast in the Gulf of Venezuela.

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Published

2021-06-04

How to Cite

Espinoza-Rodríguez, N. E., Pernía, Y., Severeyn, H., Severeyn, Y. G. de, & Barrios-Garrido, H. (2021). Echinoderms from the Gulf of Venezuela, north-western coast of Venezuela. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 61, e20216151. https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2021.61.51

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