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Unexpected diversity in Canadian Pacific zoanthids (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia): a molecular examination and description of a new species from the waters of British Columbia
Reimer, J.D.; Sinniger, F. (2010). Unexpected diversity in Canadian Pacific zoanthids (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia): a molecular examination and description of a new species from the waters of British Columbia. Mar. Biodiv. 40(4): 249-260
In: Marine Biodiversity. Springer: Berlin. ISSN 1867-1616, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Biodiversity; DNA; New species; Zoanthidae Rafinesque, 1815 [WoRMS]; Canada, British Columbia [gazetteer]; I, Pacific [gazetteer]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Reimer, J.D.
  • Sinniger, F., editor

Abstract
    Recent investigations into the species diversity of zoanthids have demonstrated the existence of many previously unrecognized species, genera, and even families within this order. The application of molecular markers, combined with more “traditional” morphological and ecological investigations have proven highly useful in examining this taxonomically neglected group. Here, using these combined techniques on newly collected and preserved museum specimens, we examine the diversity of zoanthids in the waters of British Columbia for the first time ever. Results show the presence of one undescribed species, Mesozoanthus lilkweminensis n. sp., and point to the existence of two to four other ones. Mesozoanthus lilkweminensis is distinguished by its salmon-pink coloration, 34–38 tentacles, and is found on hard rocky substrate. It is easily distinguishable from the only other described zoanthid species from the Canadian Pacific coast, Epizoanthus scotinus Wood 1958, by size, coloration and tentacle number. Specimens of M. lilkweminensis are known from only one location thus far. Although there may still be undiscovered populations of this new species, it is expected to be relatively rare. These findings highlight the need for further investigations into the diversity of marine invertebrate biodiversity in northern temperate Pacific waters.

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