The First Deep-Sea Stylasterid (Hydrozoa, Stylasteridae) of the Red Sea

Davide Maggioni*, Tullia I. Terraneo, Giovanni Chimienti, Fabio Marchese, Daniela Pica, Stephen D. Cairns, Ameer A. Eweida, Mattie Rodrigue, Sam J. Purkis, Francesca Benzoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Stylasteridae, commonly known as lace corals, is a family of colonial calcifying hydrozoans mostly inhabiting deep waters. Stylasterids show a cosmopolitan distribution but, in some areas, they are characterized by low species diversity, such as in the Red Sea, where only a shallow-water species has been reported so far. With this work, we provide the first evidence of a deep-sea stylasterid inhabiting the NEOM region in the northern Saudi Arabian Red Sea, at depths ranging between 166 and 492 m. Morphological examinations revealed that this species was previously unknown and belonging to the genus Stylaster. We, therefore, describe Stylaster tritoni sp. nov., representing the first record of the genus in the Red Sea. Lastly, the phylogenetic position of the species within the Stylasteridae was evaluated, revealing a close relationship with shallow-water Indo-Pacific and Western Atlantic Stylaster species and confirming the polyphyletic nature of the genus Stylaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number241
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by KAUST (FCC/1/1973-50-01, FCC/1/1973-49-01, and baseline research funds to F. Benzoni). G. Chimienti was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (PON 2014–2020, Grant AIM 1807508-1, Linea 1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • lace coral
  • new record
  • new species
  • phylogeny
  • Stylaster
  • Stylaster tritoni

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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