Benayahu et al. 2017

scientific article | Zookeys | open access

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

Benayahu Y, McFadden CS, Shoham E


This communication describes a new octocoral, Altumia delicata gen. n. & sp. n. (Octocorallia: Clavulariidae), 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.

Depth range
69- 140 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
16 x (total of 2243 words)

* Presents original data
* Reports new species
* Focused on `mesophotic` depth range
* Focused on `mesophotic coral ecosystem`

Molecular ecology

Octocorallia (Soft Corals)

Israel - Red Sea

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

Author profiles