European hydromedusa Eleutheria dichotoma (Anthomedusae: Cladonematidae) found at high densities in New South Wales, Australia: distribution, biology and habitat.
Eleutheria dichotoma, a hydrozoan not previously recorded from the Southern Hemisphere, was found at high densities at several locations along the coast of New SouthWales (NSW), Australia, between August and November 2005. The identity of the species was con¢rmed by morphological and molecular (16S rDNA) comparisons with European specimens. Local densities, distribution and habitat (algal substrate) were examined. The medusae were found along a 400 km stretch of coastline between Bateau Bay (33823’S 151829’E) and Pebbly Beach (35835’S 150843’E), primarily on the green alga Ulva, at mean densities of more than 50 individuals per 10 cm2 plot. The species is probably a recent introduction to Australia.