Literally at greater depths



Posted on 09-12-2016 by Redactie

Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Substation Curaçao will work together to explore the deeper areas of coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Adriaan "Dutch" Schrier is the Director of the Curacao Sea Aquarium and the Substation Curaçao.  He visited Edwin van Huis (director of Naturalis) to offer him two rare species of shells which were not yet represented in the collections of Naturalis.  The shells were found at the island of Klein Curacao. The gift of the shell is very important to our collection because Naturalis manages the natural history collections of the Netherlands.

Substation Curaçao has a submarine and a survey vessel which is used as a mother ship. The government of Curacao has pledged a grant for the construction of research facilities and public space in the country, laboratories, storage space and an exhibition. Naturalis will help to build this up. This way visitors can also experience research. "Thanks to the efforts of the submarine species are found at greater depths (100-300 m) that are still unknown to science or were previously not found in the Dutch Caribbean," said Bert Hoeksema, researcher at Naturalis. He has already joined several submarine expeditions, among others along the coast of Curaçao and to Dominica, an island in the eastern Caribbean.

The two rare shells from the family Pleurotomariidae that Naturalis received are also collected by the Curasub. The English name of snails is the slit snails. These snails exist already for a long time and are therefore seen as living fossils. They live only in deep water, making them difficult to find, some species living at a depth of 2 to 3 km! "The species that we received live less deep. These snails lived on a steep cliff where it was initially impossible to collect them. “Therefore we have not seen these animals often before, " said Jeroen Gold. They are collected with the Curasub at a depth of 175-225 meters. Thanks to the Curasub the number of discovered species of this group increased significantly.

Snails belonging to this family are considered "living fossils." At present there are 33 described species. were in the 19th century that there are only five, including two species that we (first) know Curaçao. The observations have been very special, and current photographs and films are even unique. "Both species are never found on the Dutch Antilles and therefore new to our species list!" says Jeroen.
The species that we have in out collection now are: Perotrochus quoyanusand Entemnotrochus adansonianus