Phylogenetic position and taxonomy of Cycloseris explanualata and C. wells (Scleractinia: Fungiidae): lost mushroom corals find their way home

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Tara Oceans

Francesca Benzoni (1,2), Roberto Arrigoni (1), Fabrizio Stefani (1), Bastian T.Reijnen (3), Simone Montano (1), Bert W. Hoeksema (3)

1. Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 2, 20126 Milan, Italy

2. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR227 Coreus2, 101 Promenade Roger Laroque, BP A5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia

3. Department of Marine Zoology, Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Contributions to Zoology, 81 (3) 125-146 (2012)

Captured’ecran 2015-01-13a11.34.55

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The scleractinian species Psammocora explanulata and Coscinaraea wells were originally classified in the family Sideras-treidae, but in a recent morpho-molecular study it appeared that they are more closely related to each other and to the Fungiidae than to any siderastreid taxon. A subsequent morpho-molecular study of the Fungiidae provided new insights regarding the phylogenetic relationships within that family. In the present study existing molecular data sets of both families were analyzed jointly with with those of new specimens and sequences of P. explanulata and C. wellsi. The results indicate that both species actually belong t the Cylcloseris clade within the family Fungiidae. A reappraisal of their morphologic characters based on museum specimens and recently collected material substantiate the molecular results. Consequently, they are renamed Cycloseris explanulata and C. wellsi. They are polystomatous and encrusting like C. mokai, another species recently added to the genus, whereas all Cycloseris species were initially thought to be monostomatous and free-living. In the light of the new findings, the taxonomy and distribution data of C. explanulata and C. wellsi have been updated and revised. Finally, the ecological implications of the evolutionary history of the three encrusting polystomatous Cycloseris species and their free-living monostomatous congeners are discussed.

Key words :

COI, Coscinaraea, Psammocora explanulata, rDNA