Tuesday, December 11, 2012

[Coral • 2012] Neozoanthus caleyi & N. uchina • Two new species of Neozoanthus (Cnidaria, Hexacorallia, Zoantharia) from the Pacific

Neozoanthus caleyi on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Neozoanthus uchina in Okinawa

The zoanthid genus Neozoanthus was originally described in 1972 from a single species in Madagascar. This monotypic genus was placed within its own family, Neozoanthidae, given its unusual characters of only partial sand encrustation, and an endodermal sphincter muscle combined with a brachycnemic mesenterial arrangement. Recently, undescribed specimens of Neozoanthus were discovered thousands of kilometers away in both Australia and Japan. While the phylogenetic and evolutionary aspects of Neozoanthus spp. are now somewhat well understood, the new specimens remained undescribed. Here we describe the specimens as two new species, N. uchina sp. n. from the Middle Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, and N. caleyi sp. n. from the waters around Heron Island, on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Both species can be distinguished from each other and the type species, N. tulearensis, by their distributions, oral disk colors, and average numbers of tentacles. Additionally, each species appears to have subtle differences in their cnidae. The division of Japanese and Australian specimens into two species is strongly supported by recently reported phylogenetic data. The discovery and description of these two species highlights how little is known of zoanthid species diversity in the Indo-Pacific.

 Two New Species of Anemones Discovered
Biologists from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, have found two new species of encrusting anemones, in unexpected locations.

Reimer JD et al. 2012. Two new species of Neozoanthus (Cnidaria, Hexacorallia, Zoantharia) from the Pacific. ZooKeys 246: 69; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.246.3886