Phylogenetics and taxonomy of the scleractinian coral family Euphylliidae

Roberto Arrigoni, Jarosław Stolarski, Tullia Isotta Terraneo, Bert W. Hoeksema, Michael L. Berumen, Claude Payri, Simone Montano, Francesca Benzoni

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The family Euphylliidae consists of reef-building zooxanthellate scleractinian corals distributed across the Indo-Pacific. Seven extant genera comprising a total of 22 valid species are currently recognised. Recent studies have re-organised the taxonomy of the family at the genus level based on molecular and morphological data, including a comprehensive revision of Euphyllia and the resurrection of Fimbriaphyllia. Here, three mitochondrial loci (coi, 12S rRNA, and 16S rRNA) were sequenced and morphological examinations were conducted at three scales (macro/micromorphology and microstructure of the skeleton, and polyp morphology) to study the phylogeny and taxonomy of Euphylliidae. We analysed a total of 11 valid species collected from seven Indo-Pacific localities. The monotypic genus Coeloseris, currently in Agariciidae, was also investigated since previous molecular data suggested a close relationship with the Euphylliidae. Molecular and morphological phylogenetic trees were broadly concordant in the definition of genus-level clades. All analysed genera, i.e., Ctenella, Euphyllia, Fimbriaphyllia, Galaxea, and Gyrosmilia, were reciprocally monophyletic based on molecular results. Coeloseris was nested within the family and, therefore, is formally moved into Euphylliidae. Updated morphological diagnoses are provided for each investigated genus. This study further demonstrated that a phylogenetic classification of scleractinian corals can be achieved by applying a combined morpho-molecular approach. Finally, we encourage phylogenetic and taxonomic studies of the euphylliid taxa not yet analysed molecularly, such as the monotypic genera Montigyra and Simplastrea.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalContributions to Zoology
StatePublished - Mar 13 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-03-29
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the three anonymous reviewers for their important comments and suggestions. We deeply thank D Huang (nus) for his constructive comments on the first manuscript draft. We thank Lueter C (zmb) for information provided about the holotype of Caryophyllia glabrescens. For New Caledonia and Madagascar, we are grateful to the chief scientists and cruise organisers C. Fauvelot (ird) and H. Magalon (ulr) for invitation to join and valuable help with sampling authorisations. The madang expedition specimens were obtained during the “Our Planet Reviewed” Papua Niugini expedition ( organised by Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (mnhn), Pro Natura International (pni), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (ird), and University of Papua New Guinea (upng), Principal Investigators Philippe Bouchet and Sarah Samadi. The organizers acknowledge funding from the Total Foundation, Prince Albert ii of Monaco Foundation, Fondation edf, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and Entrepose Contracting, and in-kind support from the Divine Word University (dwu). The expedition operated under a permit delivered by the Papua New Guinea Department of Environment and Conservation. Permissions relevant for kaust to undertake the research have been obtained from the applicable governmental agencies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For sampling in the Red Sea, we wish to thank the captain and crew of the mv Dream-Master, the kaust Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, and A Gusti (kaust). We are grateful to E Dutrieux, CH Chaineau (Total SA), R Hirst, M Abdul Aziz (ylng), and M Pichon (mtq) for allowing and supporting research in Yemen. We are grateful to E Karsenti (embl) and E Bougois (Tara Expeditions), the OCEANS Consortium for allowing sampling during the Tara Oceans expedition in Djibouti and Mayotte. We thank the commitment of the following people and additional sponsors who made this singular expedition possible: cnrs, embl, Genoscope/cea, vib, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, unimib, anr (projects poseidon/anr-09-blan-0348, biomarks/anr-08-bdva-003, prometheus/anr-09-genm-031, and tara-girus/anr-09-pcs-genm-218), EU FP7 (MicroB3/No.287589), fwo, bio5, Biosphere 2, agnès b., the Veolia Environment Foundation, Region Bretagne, World Courier, Illumina, Cap L’Orient, the edf Foundation edf Diversiterre, frb, the Prince Albert ii de Monaco Foundation, Etienne Bourgois, the Tara schooner, and its captain and crew. Tara Oceans would not exist without continuous support from 23 institutes ( This article is contribution number 142 of the Tara Oceans Expedition 2009–2012.


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