Calcareous sponges of the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea

Rob W. M. Van Soest, Nicole J. de Voogd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Past taxonomic studies of Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea Calcarea have been few and sporadic (e.g. Schuffner 1877, Jenkin 1908, Row 1909, Dendy 1913, 1916, Voigt et al. 2017, 2018). Nevertheless, approximately 70 species are known from these studies for the considered region, but the descriptions of the older records often lack sufficient details for reliable identification. We studied the Western Indian Ocean Calcarea collection kept in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Available specimens numbered 145, collected in the Red Sea, Seychelles, Maldives, Mayotte and Rodrigues, in addition to incidental samples from Oman, the Lakshadweep Islands, the Mozambique Channel, and Eastern South Africa. Using a combination of techniques (in situ and ‘on deck’ photography, detailed field notes, light microscopic studies and measurements, SEM microscopy, and selected DNA sequencing) we identified 45 species, divided over the two main classes Calcinea (24 spp.) and Calcaronea (21 spp.). Not all species could be definitely assigned to an already described or a new species, as seven remained qualified as ‘spec.’ or ‘aff.’ for reasons of insufficient material or lack of details of in situ habitus. Sixteen species appeared to be new to science: Borojevia voigti sp.nov., Borojevia tubulata sp.nov., Borojevia pirella sp.nov., Clathrina rodriguesensis sp.nov., Clathrina maremeccae sp.nov., Clathrina repens sp.nov., Leucascus schleyeri sp.nov., Leucetta sulcata sp.nov., Ute insulagemmae sp.nov., Leucandra pilula sp.nov., Leucandra mozambiquensis sp.nov., Grantessa woerheidei sp.nov., Sycettusa hirsutissima sp.nov., Vosmaeropsis glebula sp.nov., Paraleucilla erpenbecki sp.nov., and Kebira tetractinifera sp.nov. For a selection of the identified species from the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea (30 spp.), as well as from Indonesian material (22 spp.) published previously (see Van Soest & De Voogd 2015) we obtained sequences of the partial 28S gene of nuclear rDNA (C2–D2 region, cf. Voigt & Wörheide 2016). The sequences of the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea species were used to assign these to genera and families based on a phylogenetic analysis using MEGA pack vs. 06.6 for Mac of the available dataset. The Indonesian sequences supplemented by partial 28S sequences taken from the Sponge Barcode Project website and the NCBI website were included in the phylogenetic analysis to confirm the assignments. The results were compared and discussed with additional information on regional Calcarea not represented in our material. The latter chapter yielded the discovery of a preoccupied name leading to Sycon oscari nom.nov. for a species described from Mauritius.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-160
Number of pages160
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-07
Acknowledgements: Fieldwork in the Red Sea was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and we thank Michael Berumen for his support. We are grateful to Paolo Galli and Francesca Benzoni of the University of Milano-Bicocca Marine Research and High Education (MaRHE) Centre in Magoodhoo, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Republic of Maldives and the community of Maghoodhoo, Faafu Atoll, Simone Montano and Davide Seveso (MaRHE). Fieldwork in Mayotte was financed through the ANR-Netbiome under grant No ANR-11-EBIM-0006. Research permits were issued via Terres Australes en Antartiques francaises (TAAF). We thank Cecile Debitus, Bruno Fichou, Stephan Aubert, Philippe Prost and Jean-Pierre Bellanger for their support. The fieldwork in Rodrigues was supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under Grant agreement no 634674: TASCMAR project (Tools and strategies to access to original bioactive compounds from cultivation of marine invertebrates and associated symbionts). We thank Anne Bialecki for organizing the mission. Oliver Voigt (Munchen) kindly provided assistance, sequences and unpublished information, which has greatly helped with identification and molecular characterization of the sponges described in this paper. Bert Hoeksema, Charles Fransen, Bastian Reijnen and Sancia van der Meij are thanked for their support during some of the fieldtrips of NdV to the Red Sea and the Maldives. Aline Nieman, Gydo Geyer and Niels van der Windt (Naturalis DNA Laboratory) provided the sequences of the RMNH and ZMA specimens. Elly Beglinger and Karen van Dorp (Naturalis) assisted in the registration and collection management of the sponges. Bertie Joan van Heuven and Rob Langelaan provided assistance with microscopy at the Naturalis Biopartner 2 Lab. The 2005 visit of RVS to the Natural History Museum, London, hosted by Clare Valentine, was financed by SYNTHESYS GB-TAF grant 538. Emma Sherlock (Natural History Museum London) facilitated the loan of slides of the type of Grantilla quadriradiata.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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