Four new species and three new records of benthic ctenophores (Family: Coeloplanidae) from the Red Sea

Ada Alamaru*, Eran Brokovich, Yossi Loya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During 2012–2013 we surveyed the benthic ctenophore fauna of the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. Four new species, three new records and one known species of benthic ctenophores (family Coeloplanidae) were discovered living as episymbionts on various invertebrates and algae: (1) Coeloplana loyai n. sp. (on the mushroom corals Herpolitha limax Esper, 1797 and Ctenactis echinata Pallas, 1766), (2) Coeloplana yulianicorum n. sp. (on the soft coral Sarcophyton glaucum Quoy and Gaimard, 1833), (3) Coeloplana huchonae n. sp. (on the stems of Dendronephthya hemprichi Klunzinger, 1877), (4) Coeloplana fishelsoni n. sp. (on colonies of Xenia umbellata Lamarck, 1816 and Paralemnalia Kukenthal, 1913), (5) Coeloplana punctata Fricke, 1970 and (6) Coeloplana lineolata Fricke, 1970 – both are new records in the Red Sea (found on colonies of S. glaucum), (7) Coeloplana bannwarthi Krumbach, 1933 on the spines of the sea urchin Diadema setosum Leske, 1778, and (8) Vallicula multiformis Rankin, 1956, another member of the family, was recorded for the first time from the Red Sea from brown algae, Sargassum seaweed and the holothurian Pearsonothuria graeffei Semper, 1868. All four new species of benthic ctenophores are different from other known Coeloplana species by their host identity, color, and color pattern. The documentation of V. multiformis in the Gulf of Aqaba , Red Sea is a remarkable extension of its geographic distribution, which until now was only reported from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These findings demonstrate the great potential of discovering new species of this understudied group, especially in coral reef ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalMarine Biodiversity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Benthic ctenophores
  • Coeloplanidae
  • Coral ectosymbionts
  • Platyctenida
  • Taxonomy
  • Vallicula


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