Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 349–365 | Cite as

Black corals (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone

  • Tina N. Molodtsova
  • Dennis M. Opresko
CCZ Biodiversity


The antipatharian fauna of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone is discussed. Five species of black corals from three genera were identified in collections from this area, including one new species. A list is provided of the 15 species of antipatharians that have been collected at depths greater than 3000 m, and a figure is included that shows the bathymetric distribution of all genera in the order. A new genus, Alternatipathes, in the family Schizopathidae is also described herein.


Nodule fauna Abyssal fauna Abyssopathes anomala n. sp. Alternatipathes n. gen. 



We would like to thank Geoff Keel (Smithsonian Institution), Pedro Martinez (Senckenberg am Meer DZMB), Stanislav Melnik (Yuzhmorgeo), Andrew Cabrinovic (UKNHM), and Lenaick Menot (Ifremer) for access to the specimens studied; Carsten Rühleman (BGR, Hannover) for allowing study of the material from KM1307; Antonina Kremenetskaya (IORAS) and Ole Tendal (ZMUC) for the photographs of antipatharians from the Galathea Expedition; Galina Kolyuchkina (IORAS) for histological preparations; and two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments and suggestions regarding the manuscript. A visit by TNM to the Smithsonian Institution in August 2015 was supported by a U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) grant to the Smithsonian Institution. The authors are very appreciative of the DoJ’s support of black coral research. This research was funded in part by RSF grant 14-50-00095 (SEMs of type material). The research leading to these results has also received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under the MIDAS project, grant agreement no. 603418. DMO is a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution and gratefully acknowledges that affiliation.


  1. Amon DJ, Ziegler AF, Dahlgren TG, Glover AG, Goineau A, Gooday AJ, Wiklund H, Smith CR (2016) Insights into the abundance and diversity of abyssal megafauna in a polymetallic-nodule region in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Sci Rep 6:30492. doi: 10.1038/srep30492 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Brook G (1889) Report on the Antipatharia collected by H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873–1876. Zool 32(1):1–222Google Scholar
  3. Brugler MR, Opresko DM, France SC (2013) The evolutionary history of the order Antipatharia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia) as inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA: implications for black coral taxonomy and systematics. Zool J Linnean Soc 169:312–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cairns SD, Gershwin LA, Brook FJ, Pugh P, Dawson EW, Ocana VO, Vervoort W, Williams G, Watson JE, Opresko DM, Schuchert P, Hine PM, Gordon DP, Campbell HJ, Wright AJ, Sanchez JA, Fautin DG (2009) Phylum Cnidaria: corals, medusae, hydroids, myxozoans. In: Gordon DP (ed) New Zealand inventory of biodiversity. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp 59–101Google Scholar
  5. Cooper CF (1909) Antipatharia. Reports of the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition to the Indian Ocean. Trans Linn Soc Lond (Zool Ser 2) 12:301–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Grasshoff M (1981a) Die Gorgonaria, Pennatularia und Antipatharia des Tiefwassers der Biskaya (Cnidaria, Anthozoa). Ergebnisse der französischen Expeditionen Biogas, Polygas, Géomanche, Incal, Nordatlante und Fahrten der Thalassa II. 1. Allgemeiner Teil. Bull Nat Mus Nat Hist Paris, 4th series, 3, section A, no. 4 pp 941–978Google Scholar
  7. Grasshoff M (1981b) Die Gorgonaria, Pennatularia und Antipatharia des Tiefwassers der Biskaya (Cnidaria, Anthozoa). Ergebnisse der französischen Expeditionen Biogas, Polygas, Géomanche, Incal, Nordatlante und Fahrten der Thalassa II. 2. Taxonomischer Teil. Bull Nat Mus Nat Hist Paris, 4th series, 3, section A, no. 4 pp 941–978Google Scholar
  8. Gravier Ch (1921) Antipathaires provenant des campagnes des yachts Princesse-Alice et Hirondelle II (1903–1913). Resultats des Campagnes Scientifiques du Prince de Monaco. Part LIX, 29 pp, 2 plsGoogle Scholar
  9. International Seabed Authority (2014) Atlas of abyssal megafaunal morphotypes of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. Antipatharia. Available online at: Accessed 9 Sept 2015
  10. Mengerink KJ, Van Dover CL, Ardron J, Baker M, Escobar-Briones E, Gjerde K, Koslow JA, Ramirez-Llodra E, Lara-Lopez A, Squires D, Sutton T, Sweetman AK, Levin LA (2014) A call for deep-ocean stewardship. Science 344(6185):696–698Google Scholar
  11. Molodtsova TN (2006) Black corals (Antipatharia: Anthozoa: Cnidaria) of North-East Atlantic. In: Mironov AN, Gebruk AV, Southward AJ (eds) Biogeography of the North Atlantic seamounts. KMK Press, Moscow, pp 22–57Google Scholar
  12. Molodtsova TN (2014) Deep-sea fauna of European seas: an annotated species check-list of benthic invertebrates living deeper than 2000 m in the seas bordering Europe. Antipatharia. Invertebr Zool 11:3–7Google Scholar
  13. Molodtsova TN (2016) New records of Heteropathes Opresko, 2011 (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Mar Biodivers. doi: 10.1007/s12526-016-0460-y Google Scholar
  14. Molodtsova TN, Sanamyan NP, Keller NB (2008) Anthozoa from the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge and Charlie–Gibbs fracture zone. Mar Biol Res 4:112–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Opresko DM (1974) A study of the classification of the Antipatharia (Coelenterata:Anthozoa) with redescriptions of eleven species. PhD Dissertation, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 193 pp Google Scholar
  16. Opresko DM (1997) Review of the genus Schizopathes (Cnidaria: Antipatharia: Schizopathidae) with a description of a new species from the Indian Ocean. Proc Biol Soc Wash 110:157–166Google Scholar
  17. Opresko DM (2002) Revision of the Antipatharia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). Part II. Schizopathidae. Zool Meded Leiden 76:411–442Google Scholar
  18. Opresko DM (2005) New genera and species of antipatharian corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) from the North Pacific. Zool Meded Leiden 79:129–165Google Scholar
  19. Pasternak FA (1958) Deep-sea Antipatharia of the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. Trud Inst Okeanol 27:180–191 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  20. Pasternak FA (1961) Pennatulaceans (Octocorallia) and antipatharians (Hexacorallia) collected in Soviet Interdisciplinary Antarctic Expedition in 1955-1958. Trud Inst Okeanol 46:217–230 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  21. Pasternak FA (1964) The deep-sea pennatularians and antipatharians obtained by R/V Vitiaz in the Indian Ocean and the resemblance between the faunas of the pennatularians of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Trud Inst Okeanol 69:183–315 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  22. Pasternak FA (1976) New data on the composition and distribution of the deep-sea Antipatharians (Hexacorallia, Antipatharia) in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Trud Inst Okeanol 99:45–58 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  23. Pasternak FA (1977) Antipatharia. Galathea Rep 14:157–164Google Scholar
  24. Tilot V (2006) Biodiversity and distribution of faunal assemblages. Vol. 1. The polymetallic nodule ecosystem of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Paris, UNESCO/IOC, 2006 (IOC Technical Series, 69)Google Scholar
  25. Tilot V (2010) Biodiversity and distribution of faunal assemblages. Vol. 3. Options for the management and conservation of the nodule ecosystem in Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone: scientific, legal and institutional aspects. Paris, UNESCO/IOC, 2010 (IOC Technical Series, 69)Google Scholar
  26. van Pesch AJ (1914) The Antipatharia of the Siboga Expedition. Siboga Expeditie Monographie 17:1–258Google Scholar
  27. Vanreusel A, Hilário A, Ribeiro PA, Menot L, Martínez Arbizu P (2016) Threatened by mining, polymetallic nodules are required to preserve abyssal epifauna. Sci Rep 6:26808. doi: 10.1038/srep26808 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Vinogradova NG (1997) Zoogeography of the abyssal and hadal zones. Adv Mar Biol 32:325–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wagner D, Waller RG, Toonen RJ (2011) Sexual reproduction of Hawaiian black corals, with a review of the reproduction of antipatharians (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia). Invertebr Biol 130:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wagner D, Luck DG, Toonen RJ (2012) The biology and ecology of black corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia: Antipatharia). Adv Mar Biol 63:67–132CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhou J, Zou R (1992) Studies on the antipatharians from Zhongsha Islands waters. Trop Oceanol 11:45–52 (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RASMoscowRussia
  2. 2.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations