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Ascension Island shallow-water Zoantharia (Hexacorallia: Cnidaria) and their zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium)

  • James Davis Reimer (a1), Julien Lorion (a1), Yuka Irei (a1), Bert W. Hoeksema (a2) and Peter Wirtz (a3)...


This is the first report on the Zoantharia fauna (Cnidaria: Hexacorallia) of the isolated oceanic island of Ascension, southern Atlantic, where zoantharians are a dominant component of the shallow-water benthos. Specimens from two expeditions (1983, 2012) were examined regarding external morphology and molecular phylogeny using three DNA markers, which confirmed the presence of four zoantharian species: Palythoa caribaeorum; Palythoa aff. clavata; Parazoanthus swiftii; and Zoanthus sp. Two of these, Palythoa aff. clavata and Parazoanthus swiftii, were previously only known from the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Molecular examination of the zooxanthellae (=Symbiodinium spp.) of Palythoa specimens showed that they were in association with only one type, subclade C1.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: J.D. Reimer, Molecular Invertebrate Systematics and Ecology Laboratory, Graduate School of Engineering and Science, University of the Ryukyus, Senbaru 1, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan email:


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