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The genus Batzella: a chemosystematic problem
Van Soest, R.W.M.; Braekman, J.C.; Faulkner, D.J.; Hajdu, E.; Harper, M.K.; Vacelet, J. (1996). The genus Batzella: a chemosystematic problem. Bull. Kon. Belg. Inst. Natuurwet. Biologie 66(Suppl.): 89-101
In: Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie. Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Bruxelles. ISSN 0374-6429, more
Also appears in:
Willenz, Ph. (1996). Recent advances in sponge biodiversity inventory and documentation: Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on Atlanto-Mediterranean Sponge Taxonomy, Brussels, April 25-30, 1995. Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie, 66(Suppl.). Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Brussel. 242 pp., more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Chemical compounds > Organic compounds > Alkaloids
    Classification > Taxonomy > Chemotaxonomy
    Batzella Topsent, 1893 [WoRMS]; Poecilosclerida [WoRMS]

Authors  Top 
  • Van Soest, R.W.M., more
  • Braekman, J.C., more
  • Faulkner, D.J.
  • Hajdu, E.
  • Harper, M.K.
  • Vacelet, J., more

    Biogenetically unrelated cyclic guanidine alkaloids and pyrroloquinoline alkaloids have been reported from sponges assigned to the genus Batzella. These sponges have been assigned to this genus because of their possession of a simple complement of thin strongyles in irregular plumoreticulate arrangement. Cyclic guanidine alkaloids were first reported from an alleged axinellid species from the Caribbean, Ptilocaulis aff. P. spiculifer, and subsequently from a second Carribean specimen identified as Ptilocaulis spiculifer and at the same time from a Red Sea poecilosclerid, Hemimycale sp. Closely related compounds were described from a Caribbean specimen identified as Batzella sp. and also from the poecilosclerids Crambe crambe (Mediterranean) and Monanchora arbuscula (Brazil). Isobatzellins (pyrroloquinoline alkaloids) were reported from a black deep-water species from the Bahamas identified as Batzella sp. Chemically related pyrroloquinoline alkaloids were found in Pacific representatives of the fistular poecilosclerid genus Zyzzya, the hadromerid genus Latrunculia and the ?haplosclerid genus Prianos. Most of the voucher specimens involved in this puzzle were re-examined and several conclusions can be drawn: when inspected closely it appears, that the cyclic guanidine alkaloids are produced by sponges containing anisostrongyles, often in two categories, a thicker and a thinner one. Monanchora arbuscula, which has been recently discovered to produce these compounds, has monactinal spicules differentiated into a thinner subtylostyle and a thicker (tylo-) style, but many specimens have anisostrongylote modifications. Microscleres in Monanchora can be absent or very rare. By association, all the sponges from which cyclic guanidine alkaloids are known may be united in one family, possibly in a single wider defined genus Monanchora. However, further relationships with Crambe need to be studied. Both have cyclic guanidine alkaloids, both have megascleres of very variable shapes and thickness, differentiated mostly into two overlapping categories, microscleres and other additional spicules are often rare or absent. Relationships with the type of Hemimycale, viz. H. columella remain obscure, but in view of the much larger spicules of that species and the intricate ectosomal specialization (lacking in the above mentioned specimens) it is possible that similarities between the Red Sea Hemimycale and the European species are the product of parallel evolution. The strongyles of sponges producing pyrroloquinoline alkaloids are perfect isostrongyles and in the ectosome these are arranged in a definite ectosomal tangential crust. A good proportion of these strongyles have a faint spination on the apices. Assignment of these sponges to Batzella rest on the properties of its type species Batzella inops. Examination of a type spicule slide of that species did not solve that question, but until further notice Batzella may be used for the deep-water material. A further unsolved problem that remains is the phylogenetic relationships of Batzella with Zyzzya and Latrunculia. The likelyhoods of possible causes for this distribution of compounds are discussed.

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