Leptodiscaceans (Noctilucales, Dinophyceae) from the Pacific Ocean: First records of Petalodinium and Leptodiscus beyond the Mediterranean Sea.
Records of dinoflagellates of the family Leptodiscaceae (Noctilucales) from the Kuroshio Current, Philippine, Celebes, Sulu, South China Seas and the western and central Equatorial Pacific Ocean are described. Scaphodinium mirabile was the most common leptodiscacean. Two specimens that differed from the type species of Scaphodinium were found: one specimen showed a highly bifurcate proximal extremity and another showed two dissimilar proboscides fromthe distal extremity. Another unidentified leptodiscacean showed an arrowhead-shaped contour with the margins folded. Six specimens of Petalodinium porcelio were found, being the first record beyond the Mediterranean-Black Seas. Six specimens were tentatively assigned to the genus Leptodiscus, being the first record beyond the western Mediterranean Sea. The folded specimens that ranged from 90 to 120 mmin diameter and with a prominent flagellum were tentatively considered to be young specimens of Leptodiscus. The abundance of the leptodiscaceans is underestimated in the world’s oceans.