Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 547–559 | Cite as

Overview of the order Zoantharia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) in Brazil

  • Maria Eduarda Alves Santos
  • Marcelo Visentini Kitahara
  • Alberto Lindner
  • James Davis Reimer
Original Paper


Zoantharia (Hexacorallia) is an order of benthic cnidarians, which are known to play an important ecological role in many marine ecosystems. Although the order has a cosmopolitan distribution, including the tropical southwestern Atlantic, research on Brazilian zoantharian species diversity and distribution patterns is lacking. In order to start addressing this gap, we conducted shallow-water coastal and oceanic island sampling in parallel with an extensive literature review to summarize the knowledge of the order Zoantharia from Brazil. Additionally, mitochondrial 16S ribosomal DNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences from specimens were determined to confirm their identity and phylogenetic position within the order. Our results show the presence of at least 13 zoantharian species in Brazilian waters, including first records of Palythoa aff. clavata and Zoanthus aff. pulchellus. Moreover, range extensions were confirmed for Palythoa caribaeorum, P. grandiflora, P. variabilis, Zoanthus pulchellus, and Parazoanthus swiftii. We also present the first report on the distribution patterns for all studied species in Brazil. The current study is expected to provide a baseline for further surveys in the tropical southwestern Atlantic, where Zoantharia species richness is still understudied and therefore very likely underestimated.


Diversity Phylogeny Zoogeography Zoantharia Brazil Southwestern Atlantic 

Supplementary material

12526_2015_396_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 34.0 KB).


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Invertebrate and Systematics Ecology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Chemistry and Marine Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the RyukyusNishiharaJapan
  2. 2.Programa de Pós graduação em Sistemas Costeiros e Oceânicos, Centro de Estudos do Mar (CEM)Universidade Federal do ParanáPontal do SulBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciências do MarUniversidade Federal de São PauloSantosBrazil
  4. 4.Centro de Biologia Marinha (CEBIMar)Universidade de São PauloSão SebastiãoBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Ecologia e ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  6. 6.Tropical Biosphere Research CenterUniversity of the RyukyusNishiharaJapan

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