Coral Reefs

, 27:935

Morphological and molecular characterization of a new genus and new species of parazoanthid (Anthozoa: Hexacorallia: Zoantharia) associated with Japanese Red Coral



The Order Zoantharia has long been taxonomically neglected primarily due to difficulty in examining the internal morphology of sand-encrusted zoanthids. However, recent work using molecular markers has shown an unexpectedly high diversity of previously “hidden” taxa (families and genera) within Zoantharia (=Zoanthidea, Zoanthiniaria). In this study, unidentified sediment-encrusting zoanthid specimens (n = 8) were collected from living Japanese Red Coral Paracorallium japonicum (Family Coralliidae) during precious coral harvesting by Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and manned submersible (February 2004–January 2006) at depths of 194–250 m at six locations between Ishigaki-jima Island and Kikai-jima Island, southern Japan. DNA sequences (mitochondrial 16S ribosomal DNA [mt 16S rDNA], cytochrome oxidase subunit I [COI], nuclear internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA [ITS-rDNA]) unambiguously place these specimens in a previously undescribed, new monophyletic lineage within the family Parazoanthidae. Corallizoanthus tsukaharai, gen. n. et sp. n. is the first reported zoanthid species associated with the family Coralliidae and unlike other described gorgonian-associated zoanthids (Savalia spp.) does not secrete its own hard axis. Morphologically, C. tsukaharai sp. n. is characterized by generally unitary polyps and bright yellow external coloration.


Zoanthid Paracorallium mt 16S rDNA COI ITS-rDNA 

Supplementary material

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MOESM1 (DOC 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Reimer
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Nonaka
    • 3
  • F. Sinniger
    • 1
  • F. Iwase
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan
  2. 2.Research Program for Marine Biology and EcologyExtremobiosphere Research Center, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)KanagawaJapan
  3. 3.Okinawa Churaumi AquariumOkinawaJapan
  4. 4.Biological Institute on KuroshioKochiJapan

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