First report of tubular corallites on Stylophora caused by a symbiotic copepod crustacean
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KeywordsGall Female Individual Terminal Opening Gastric Cavity Scleractinian Species
Among the more than 340 species of symbiotic copepods associated with numerous scleractinian species, four have been reported from galls or cysts in three species of corals (Dojiri 1988; Kim and Yamashiro 2007). The relationship between these copepods and their scleractinian hosts remains poorly studied. Here, we provide the first report of a tubular corallite shape caused by copepods.
Single female individuals of the crustacean copepod, representing a new species of the genus Spaniomolgus Humes and Stock 1972 (Poecilostomatoida: Rhynchomolgidae), were found within the gastric cavity of the affected polyps (Fig. 1e). The genus Spaniomolgus was previously known only from Madagascar. Nonscleractinian invertebrates are particularly understudied in the Red Sea, and further work is needed to fully characterize their diversity and function in this region.
Fieldwork was supported by KAUST Grant CRG-1-2012-BER-002 to MLB. Figure 1a photo credit: Patricia Marti-Puig. VNI and SVM were supported by the Russian Foundation of Basic Research (Grant 12-04-01716-a).
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