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The didemnid ascidian fauna of france



The didemnid ascidian fauna of france



Annales de l'Institut Oceanographique 63(1): 1-46



The 27 Didemnid species found on the French coasts are described and illustrated in drawings, according to the probable sequence of the appearance of the genera in the course of evolution. One of these species, Diplosoma carnosum Von Drasche, 1883, was only found recently on the French coasts. A new synonymy has been established between Polysyncraton asterix Monniot, 1974, and Polysyncraton canetense Brement, 1913. We recall the problems of identification characterizing this very homogeneous group of Ascidans, and give simplified diagnoses of genera and species. The main evolutionary trend consists of a gradual coiling of the sperm duct seemingly correlated with that lengthening of the alimentary canal, accompanied by a decrease of the number of tentacles around the base of the oral siphon and a general reduction on zooid size. The Dideminids orginate from the family of the Polycitoridae: thus, the present tropical genus Echnoclinum, the oldest of the Didemnids, is a descendant of the Polycitorid genus Cystodytes, Echinoclinum existed in what in now France during the Eocene age (upper Ypresian, Cuisian, of th Paris Basin), but has now disappeared from the French coasts.

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