An integrated morphological-molecular approach reveals new insights on the systematics of the octocoral Telestula humilis (Thomson, 1927) (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea : Clavulariidae)

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Telestula humilis (Thomson, 1927) is a rare deep-sea stoloniferan octocoral distributed in the eastern Atlantic. Here we compared seven putative colonies of this species collected off Spain with the lectotype from the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and found them to be identical morphologically. Phylogenetic analyses on both full mitogenomes and a concatenated alignment containing two mtDNA genes (mtMutS and Cox1) and nuclear 28S rRNA gene recovered Telestula humilis sister to Incrustatus and Inconstantia rather than to other species of Telestula. This therefore supports its taxonomic reassignment to Pseudotelestula gen. nov. as Pseudotelestula humilis comb. nov. The taxonomic reassignment is also supported by subtle differences observed between the morphology of the colony and the sclerome of Pseudotelestula humilis comb. nov. and the two sister genera. The occurrence of an intrusion tissue with sclerites in the basal part of the gastric cavity of the adult polyps is shared among Telestula and Pseudotelestula gen. nov. However, Pseudotelestula gen. nov. has sclerites arranged in a collaret and points below the tentacles, the sclerites of the calyx wall and the stolon are plump warty spindles, and the intrusion tissue has long sticks and spindles with cone-like spines.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInvertebrate Systematics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)261-281
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Cnidaria, mitochondrial genome, molecular phylogenetics, systematics, taxonomy

ID: 272255601