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Taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of the coral genera Australomussa and Parascolymia (Scleractinia, Lobophylliidae)

In: Contributions to Zoology
Authors:
Roberto Arrigoni Dept. of Biotechnology and Biosciences University of Milano-Bicocca 20126 Milan Italy
E-mail: roberto.arrigoni@unimib.it

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Zoe T. Richards Aquatic Zoology, Western Australian Museum 49 Kew Street Welshpool WA 6106 Australia

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Chaolun Allen Chen Biodiversity Research Centre, Academia Sinica, Nangang Taipei 115 Taiwan
Institute of Oceanography National Taiwan University Taipei 106 Taiwan

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Andrew H. Baird ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies James Cook University Townsville QLD 4811 Australia

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Francesca Benzoni Dept. of Biotechnology and Biosciences University of Milano-Bicocca 20126 Milan Italy
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR227 Coreus2 101 Promenade Roger Laroque BP A5, 98848 Noumea Cedex New Caledonia

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Open Access

Novel micromorphological characters in combination with molecular studies have led to an extensive revision of the taxonomy and systematics of scleractinian corals. In the present work, we investigate the macro- and micromorphology and the phylogenetic position of the genera Australomussa and Parascolymia, two monotypic genera ascribed to the family Lobophylliidae. The molecular phylogeny of both genera was addressed using three markers, the partial mitochondrial COI gene and the nuclear histone H3 and the ribosomal ITS region. Based on molecular data, Australomussa and Parascolymia belong to the Lobophylliidae and they cluster together with the genera Lobophyllia and Symphyllia within the same clade. While A. rowleyensis and P. vitiensis are closely related based on the three gene regions examined, their macro and micromorphology suggest that these species are distinct, differing in several characters, such as continuity and thickness of the costosepta, the number of septa, septal tooth height, spacing, and shape, and the distribution and shape of granules. Thus, we revise the taxonomic status of the genus Australomussa as a junior synonym of Parascolymia.

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