Bivalve mollusc, 'Ensis terranovensis.' (Photo: GIBE/udc.es)
New razor shell species discovered
Monday, July 16, 2012, 06:40 (GMT + 9)
An international group of scientists publicly announced the discovery of a new razor shell species off the island of Newfoundland, Canada.
The team includes researchers from the Research Group in Evolutionary Biology of the University of A Coruña (UDC) of Spain, from the technology-based company AllGenetics and from the Department of Biosciences of the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
The mollusc, found off the town of Long Pond, Conception Bay (Newfoundland), has been named Ensis terranovensis.
The discovery is the result of the collaborative project that Spanish geneticists Joaquín Vierna, Ana M. González-Tizón, and Andrés Martínez-Lage, experts in genetics from UDC, are developing with Danish marine ecologist Kurt Thomas Jensen, from the University of Aarhus.
According to sources from UDC, the aim of the initiative was to carry out a population genetic analysis of the razor shell Ensis directus.
This analysis has allowed the researchers to identify the studied stock off Newfoundland was in fact a new species.
Ensis directus is a razor shell native to the eastern coast of the US and Canada that is invading the European Atlantic coasts. Currently, this resource spreads from southern Norway to France.
The finding was published in the journal Marine Biology and represents an interesting contribution for several experts from the Canadian Museum of Nature.
Along with these scientists, a group of European researchers will conduct further studies on the distribution, ecology and evolutionary history of this new species, reported EFE agency.
Six of the 14 species of razor shell known so far have had a significant commercial value in Galicia, and parts of Chile and Argentina.
In the Galician coast there are five different species of razor shells, four of which from the genus Ensis and another one from the genus Solen.
The Ensis directus has already reached the Basque Country and could arrive at Galicia. "The species is invasive, so the native species could be displaced," González stated.
"The meat is delicious, it can be consumed. In Holland it is consumed and here there are markets where the specimens brought from there are traded," added the scientist.
By Analia Murias