Coral Reefs

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 231-239

First online:

Recognition of separate genera within Acropora based on new morphological, reproductive and genetic evidence from Acropora togianensis, and elevation of the subgenus Isopora Studer, 1878 to genus (Scleractinia: Astrocoeniidae; Acroporidae)

  • C. C. WallaceAffiliated withMuseum of Tropical Queensland Email author 
  • , C. A. ChenAffiliated withResearch Centre for Biodiversity, Academia SinicaInstitute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University
  • , H. FukamiAffiliated withSeto Marine Biological Station, The Kyoto University
  • , P. R. MuirAffiliated withMuseum of Tropical Queensland

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Many attempts have been made to recognise divisions within Acropora, the most diverse reef building coral genus on modern reefs, but only subgenera Acropora and Isopora are currently recognised. In this paper, morphological and genetic analyses, and study of reproductive mode and anatomy, demonstrate that an endemic Indonesian species A. (Acropora) togianensis, Wallace, 1997, belongs to Isopora. Despite the presence of a clear central axial corallite (indicating sub-genus Acropora), this species has supplementary axial corallites, broods planula larvae rather than broadcast-spawning for external fertilisation and develops stalked ova: all characters in common with the type species of subgenus Isopora A. (Isopora) palifera and the other species for which such data are available, A. (I.) cuneata and A. (I.) brueggemanni. Phylogenies are based on the protein-coding genes, mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) and nuclear histone 2a and 2b (h2ab) also group A. togianensis with these Isoporans. High bootstrapping and Bayesian support in the major lineages of the family Acroporidae demonstrate significant differences between Isopora (including A. togianensis) and Acropora. As the type species of both subgenera, A. (Acropora) muricata (Linneaus 1758) and A. (Isopora) palifera (Lamarck, 1816) are used in these analyses, elevation of Isopora Studer, 1878 to genus is formally proposed.


Coral taxonomy Coral reefs Protein-coding genes Coral reproduction