Diversity, host specificity and biogeography in the Cladocorynidae (Hydrozoa, Capitata), with description of a new genus

Davide Maggioni, Agustín Garese, Danwei Huang, Bert W. Hoeksema, Roberto Arrigoni, Davide Seveso, Paolo Galli, Michael L. Berumen, Enrico Montalbetti, Daniela Pica, Fabrizio Torsani, Simone Montano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The hydrozoan family Cladocorynidae inhabits tropical to temperate waters and comprises the two genera Pteroclava and Cladocoryne. Pteroclava lives in association with some octocorals and hydrozoans, whereas Cladocoryne is more generalist in terms of substrate choice. This work provides a thorough morpho-molecular reassessment of the Cladocorynidae by presenting the first well-supported phylogeny of the family based on the analyses of three mitochondrial and four nuclear markers. Notably, the two nominal genera were confirmed to be monophyletic and both morphological and genetic data led to the formal description of a new genus exclusively associated with octocorals, Pseudozanclea gen. nov. Maggioni & Montano. Accordingly, the diagnosis of the family was updated. The ancestral state reconstruction of selected characters revealed that the symbiosis with octocorals likely appeared in the most recent common ancestor of Pteroclava and Pseudozanclea. Additionally, the presence of euryteles aggregation in the polyp stage and the exumbrellar nematocyst pouches with euryteles represent synapomorphies of all cladocorynid taxa and probably emerged in their most recent common ancestor. The analysis of several Pteroclava krempfi colonies from Indo-Pacific and Caribbean localities associated with several host octocorals revealed a high intra-specific genetic variability. Single- and multi-locus species delimitations resulted in three to five species hypotheses, but the statistical analysis of morphometric data showed only limited distinction among the clades of P. krempfi. However, P. krempfi clades showed differences in both host specificity, mostly at the octocoral family level, and geographic distribution, with one clade found exclusively in the Caribbean Sea and the others found in the Indo-Pacific.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jul 14 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-07-16
Acknowledgements: The authors thank all the people involved in collecting/providing material or organising sampling campaigns: Peter Schuchert (MHNG, Switzerland), Tullia Isotta Terraneo (KAUST, Saudi Arabia), Malek Amr Gusti (KAUST, Saudi Arabia), Timothy Ravasi (OIST, Japan), the captain and crew of the MV Dream-Master (Saudi Arabia), the KAUST Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, Inga Dehnert (UNIMIB, Italy), Nicholas WL Yap (NUS, Singapore), Sudhanshi S Jain (NUS, Singapore), Stephen Keable (Australian Museum), Penny Berents (Australian Museum), Anne Hoggett (Australian Museum), Lyle Vail (Australian Museum). Additionally, we wish to thank Leen P. van Ofwegen (Naturalis, The Netherlands) for his valuable help in identifying the octocoral Paralemnalia sp., Peter Schuchert for his comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, and two anonymous referees for their thorough revision of this work. Permissions relevant to undertake the research have been obtained from the applicable governmental agencies. Fieldwork at St. Eustatius was funded through a Martin Fellowship from Naturalis Biodiversity Center to SM, while logistic support was supplied by St. Eustatius Marine Parks (STENAPA), the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) and Scubaqua Dive Centre. Samples from Eilat (Israel) were collected during the HyDRa Project funded by the EU FP7 Research Infrastructure Initiative ‘ASSEMBLE’ (Grant #227799) to DP. Financial support to DP for collecting samples at Lizard Island (Australia) was provided by the 2018 John and Laurine Proud Fellowship and the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station. Fieldwork in Mozambique was conducted during the Green Bubbles financed by EU’s H2020 research and innovation programme to DP, under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no 643712 (Permit n° 09/2018 ANAC). Fieldwork in Singapore was partially funded by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Marine Science R&D Programme (MSRDP-P03) to DH.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Diversity, host specificity and biogeography in the Cladocorynidae (Hydrozoa, Capitata), with description of a new genus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this