A new species of Bathypathes (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Antipatharia, Schizopathidae) from the Red Sea and its phylogenetic position

Giovanni Chimienti, Tullia Isotta Terraneo, Silvia Vicario, Fabio Marchese, Sam J. Purkis, Ameer Abdulla Eweida, Mattie Rodrigue, Francesca Benzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

A black coral, Bathypathes thermophila Chimienti, sp. nov. is described from the Saudi Arabian coasts of the Gulf of Aqaba and north Red Sea (Neom area) using an integrated taxonomic approach. The morphological distinctiveness of the new species is confirmed by molecular analyses. The species thrives in warm and high salinity waters typical of the Red Sea at bathyal depths. It can form colony aggregations on muddy bottoms with scattered, small hard substrates. Colonies are monopodial, feather-like, and attached to a hard substrate through a thorny basal plate. Pinnules are simple, arranged biserially and alternately, and all the same length (up to approximately 20 cm) except for few, proximal ones. Spines are triangular, laterally compressed, subequal, smooth, and simple or rarely bifurcated. Polyps are elongated transversely, 1.5–2.0 mm in transverse diameter. Large colonies can have one or few branches, whose origin is discussed. The phylogenetic position of B. thermophila sp. nov. within the order Antipatharia, recovered using three mitochondrial markers, shows that it is nested within the family Schizopathidae. It is close to species in the genera Parantipathes, Lillipathes, Alternatipathes, and Umbellapathes rather than to the other available representatives of the genus Bathypathes, as currently defined based on morphology. In agreement with previous findings, our results question the evolutionary significance of morphological characters traditionally used to discriminate Antipatharia at higher taxonomic level.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalZooKeys
Volume1116
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 4 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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