Integrative systematics illuminates the relationships in two sponge-associated hydrozoan families (Capitata: Sphaerocorynidae and Zancleopsidae)

Davide Maggioni, Peter Schuchert, Roberto Arrigoni, Bert W. Hoeksema, Danwei Huang, Giovanni Strona, Davide Seveso, Michael L. Berumen, Enrico Montalbetti, Richard Collins, Paolo Galli, Simone Montano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Abstract An integrated approach using morphological and genetic data is needed to disentangle taxonomic uncertainties affecting the hydrozoan families Sphaerocorynidae and Zancleopsidae. Here we used this approach to accurately characterise species in these families, identify the previously unknown polyp stages of the genera Euphysilla and Zancleopsis, which were originally described exclusively based on the medusa stages, describe a new sphaerocorynid genus and species, and assess the phylogenetic position of the two families within the Capitata. The monotypic genus Astrocoryne was found to be a synonym of Zancleopsis. Astrocoryne cabela was therefore transferred to the genus Zancleopsis as Zancleopsis cabela comb. nov. The new polyp-based genus and species Kudacoryne diaphana gen. nov. sp. nov. was erected within the Sphaerocorynidae. Both taxa are primarily based on genetic data, but the introduction of this new genus was made necessary by the fact that it clustered with the genera Heterocoryne and Euphysilla, despite showing Sphaerocoryne-like polyps. Interestingly, the species analysed in this work showed contrasting biogeographical patterns. Based on our data and literature records, some species appear to have a wide circumtropical range, whereas others are limited to few localities. Overall, these results lay the ground for future investigations aimed at resolving the taxonomy and systematics of these two enigmatic families.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-525
Number of pages39
JournalContributions to Zoology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Nov 2 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-11
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank all the people involved in collecting material or organising sampling campaigns: Horia Galea (Hydrozoan Research Laboratory, France), 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, Nicholas wl Yap (nus, Singapore), and Sudhanshi S Jain (nus, Singapore). Authors are also grateful to Cristina G. Di Camillo (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy) and Maria A. Mendoza-Becerril (conacyt, Mexico) for sharing information on sphaerocorynid samples included in previous works, and to two anonymous reviewers for their revisions that greatly improved the work. 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. 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. Permissions relevant to undertake the research have been obtained from the applicable governmental agencies. No conflict of interest to declare.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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