On some encrusting Xeniidae (Octocorallia): Re-examination of the type material of Sansibia flava (May, 1898) and a description of new taxa

Yehuda Benayahu*, Merrick Ekins, Leen P. van Ofwegen, Kaveh Samimi-Namin, Catherine S. McFadden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The type of the xeniid soft coral Sansibia flava (May, 1898) is re-described for the first time and its morphological diagnosis is presented. A subsequent integrated analysis of molecular and morphological characters of related Xeniidae, including species indigenous to the Indo-Pacific Ocean and invasive in the Atlantic (Brazil), led to the description of a new Sansibia species, as well as two new genera comprising an additional three new species. All of these taxa are encrusting, with polyps arising directly from a spreading basal membrane. Molecular phylogenetic analyses show that these genera are not sister taxa, thus further emphasizing the remarkable phylogenetic diversity of xeniids with such a growth form. The sclerites of all species are uniformly ellipsoid platelets, abundant throughout the colony. The species exhibit restricted, non-overlapping geographic ranges, with distinct genotypes (molecular operational taxonomic units) found in different marine realms. The results emphasize the importance of re-examination of original old type material while applying molecular phylogenetic analyses in order to delineate species boundaries and to recognize biodiversity patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-444
Number of pages24
JournalZootaxa
Volume5093
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2022

Funding

FundersFunder number
British Skin Foundation

    Keywords

    • Indo-Pacific region
    • MOTUs
    • molecular phylogeny
    • new taxa
    • sclerite microstructure
    • taxonomy

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