Search for mesophotic octocorals (Cnidaria, anthozoa) and their phylogeny: I. A new sclerite-free genus from Eilat, northern Red Sea

Yehuda Benayahu, Catherine S. McFadden, Erez Shoham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This communication describes a new octocoral, Altumia delicata gen. n. & sp. n. (Octocorallia: Clavu-lariidae), from mesophotic reefs of Eilat (northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea). This species lives on dead antipatharian colonies and on artificial substrates. It has been recorded from deeper than 60 m down to 140 m and is thus considered to be a lower mesophotic octocoral. It has no sclerites and features no symbiotic zooxanthellae. The new genus is compared to other known sclerite-free octocorals. Molecular phylogenetic analyses place it in a clade with members of families Clavulariidae and Acanthoaxiidae, and for now we assign it to the former, based on colony morphology. The polyphyletic family Clavulariidae is, however, in need of a thorough revision once the morphological distinctions among its phylogenetically distinct clades are better understood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalZooKeys
Volume2017
Issue number680
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Eilat
  • Mesophotic coral ecosystem
  • New genus
  • Octocorallia
  • Red Sea
  • Taxonomy

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