Review of the Phyllophoridae family (Holothuroidea: Dendrochirotida) in Mexican waters.
The fauna of the echinoderms of Mexico is represented by 643 species. Within these, 113 belong to the class Holothuroidea (sea cucumbers). The phyllophorids (Holothuroidea: Phyllophoridae) are characterized by the presence of more than 10 tentacles and a calcareous ring prolonged posteriorly with small pieces forming a mosaic-like appearance. Their cryptic habits have made them difficult to record during the many years of taxonomic studies regarding this group in Mexico. This paper aims to raise awareness of the state of knowledge on the diversity of the Phyllophoridae family in Mexican territorial waters. We present 16 species belonging to six genera, living in shallow (0 - 200 m) to deep (> 200 m) waters in the Mexican Pacific, Gulf of California, Mexican Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Within these, three new records are included. A taxonomic identification catalog was obtained for each species, providing information about external and internal morphology; the material was examined and recorded with information from type material and locality, all previous reports for Mexico, the geographic and bathymetric distribution as well as photographs taken with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of the shape and combination of the spicules. The work is complemented with a dichotomous key for identification.