Abstract

Introduction: Ophiocomella alexandri is a conspicuous species in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The diagnosis is based on adult specimens and there are not documented variations. The inclusion of internal microstructures to the descriptions will allow intraspecific and interspecific comparisons in taxa with taxonomic problems. Objective: To describe the external morphology and internal microstructures of O. alexandri, including variation. Methods: We reviewed O. alexandri type material and general material deposited in three scientific collections. We examined the internal microstructures of the arm and jaw with a scanning electron microscope. Results: The external and internal morphology were described showing the morphological variations according to size. Conclusions: The variations in the internal morphology of O. alexandri show that this type of analysis is necessary, and even more important than the external morphology. It is recommended to carry out more taxonomic work that includes other species of the genus to clarify its taxonomic status.

Keywords: arm; jaw; characters; variations; scanning electron microscopy