Acrozoanthus Saville-Kent, 1893,

Low, Martyn E. Y., Sinniger, Frederic & Reimer, James Davis, 2016, The order Zoantharia Rafinesque, 1815 (Cnidaria, Anthozoa: Hexacorallia): supraspecific classification and nomenclature, ZooKeys 641, pp. 1-80: 6-7

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Acrozoanthus Saville-Kent, 1893


Acrozoanthus Saville-Kent, 1893 

Acrozoanthus  Saville-Kent, 1893: 153, 154.

Type species.

Acrozoanthus australiae  Saville-Kent, 1893, by monotypy.




Zooxanthellate, absence of mineral incrustations in the column/coenenchyme (excluding superficial surface attachments) brachycnemic zoantharians inhabiting the outside of eunicid worms, with a ‘budding’ method of asexual reproduction ( Reimer et al. 2011b).


Specimens examined with a discontiguous mesogleal sphincter muscle ( Swain et al. 2015).

The genus Acrozoanthus  has a long and complicated taxonomic history. Reimer et al. (2011b) discussed that "despite its very similar appearance, Acrozoanthus australiae  was placed into a genus separate from Zoanthus  due to the presence of an axial skeleton ( Saville-Kent 1893). Later it was shown that this skeleton was in fact a result of habitat preference as Acrozoanthus  inhabits the outside of eunicid worm tubes, and the genus was subsequently merged back again into the genus Zoanthus  ( Haddon 1895). Subsequent to its original description, this species was not mentioned in literature again until its rediscovery by Ryland (1997), based on examination of a single specimen. Further work by Ryland and co-workers described the nematocysts of Acrozoanthus australiae  ( Ryland et al. 2004) and also an unusual ‘budding’ method of asexual reproduction ( Ryland 1997), which was theorized to potentially confirm the placement of this species in its own genus".

Molecular phylogenetic data indicate that Acrozoanthus  is within the Zoanthus  (see Reimer et al. 2011b) monophyly. However, due to a need for more detailed investigations, we refrain from synonymising Acrozoanthus  with Zoanthus  .