Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 545–564 | Cite as

Anthopleura and the phylogeny of Actinioidea (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actiniaria)

  • M. DalyEmail author
  • L. M. Crowley
  • P. Larson
  • E. Rodríguez
  • E. Heestand Saucier
  • D. G. Fautin
Original Article


Members of the sea anemone genus Anthopleura are familiar constituents of rocky intertidal communities. Despite its familiarity and the number of studies that use its members to understand ecological or biological phenomena, the diversity and phylogeny of this group are poorly understood. Many of the taxonomic and phylogenetic problems stem from problems with the documentation and interpretation of acrorhagi and verrucae, the two features that are used to recognize members of Anthopleura. These anatomical features have a broad distribution within the superfamily Actinioidea, and their occurrence and exclusivity are not clear. We use DNA sequences from the nucleus and mitochondrion and cladistic analysis of verrucae and acrorhagi to test the monophyly of Anthopleura and to evaluate the pattern of distribution of acrorhagi and verrucae. We find that Anthopleura is paraphyletic: although species of the genus cluster together, some groups also include members of genera like Bunodosoma, Aulactinia, Oulactis, and Actinia. This paraphyly is explained in part by the discovery that acrorhagi and verrucae are pleisiomorphic for the subset of Actinioidea studied.


Anthopleura Actinioidea Cnidaria Verrucae Acrorhagi Pseudoacrorhagi Atomized coding 



This work would not have been possible without specimens and field support from A. Ardelean, P. Cartwright, H. Cha, A. D’ Orazio, L. Francis, R. Goodwill, L. Gusmão, V. Haüssermann, C. McFadden, B. Picton, A. Schulze, and K. Yanagi. Lab support was provided by A. Chaudhuri, A. Lindgren, and A. Reft. Funding for this project came from the American Museum of Natural History, NSF DEB-9978106 to DGF, and NSF EF-0531763 to MD.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal BiologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Division of Invertebrate ZoologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.University of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA
  4. 4.University of Kansas Natural History MuseumLawrenceUSA

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