Porites fontanesii, a new species of hard coral (Scleractinia, Poritidae) from the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Tadjoura, and the Gulf of Aden and its phylogenetic within the genus

© A.Deniaud / Tara Expéditions

Tara Oceans

Francesca Benzoni (1), Fabrizio Stefani (2)

1. Universita di Milano-Bicocca, Dipartimiento di Biotecnologie e Bioscienze, Piazza della Scienza, 2, 20126 Milano, Italy

2. Water Research Institute – National Research Council (IRSA-CNR), Via del Mulino 19, 20861 Brugherio (MB), Italy


A new zooxanthellate reef-dwelling scleractinian coral species, Porites fontanesii sp. nov. (Scleractinia, Poritidae), is de- scribed. The examined material was collected from the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Tadjoura, and the Gulf of Aden. Porites fontanesii sp. nov. was most frequently observed along the Yemen south Red Sea and the north-western Gulf of Aden coasts. Although a complete molecular phylogeny of Porites is not available yet, the relationships between P. fon – tanesii sp. nov. and twenty other species of the genus were explored through analysis of the available rDNA sequences. Porites fontanesii sp. nov. was seen to be a distinct species basal to, and well divergent from, one of the two main clades so far identified in the genus rDNA phylogeny.

Key words

Cnidaria, Anthozoa, coenosteum, rDNA