Leiopathes Haime, 1849

Lima, Manuela M., Cordeiro, Ralf T. S. & Perez, Carlos D., 2019, Black Corals (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) from the Southwestern Atlantic, Zootaxa 4692 (1), pp. 1-67: 22

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Leiopathes Haime, 1849


Genus Leiopathes Haime, 1849  

Type-species. Antipathes glaberrima Esper, 1792   (by original designation).

Diagnosis. “Corallum irregularly sympodially branched but not pinnulate; branching multidirectional or flabellate. Branchlets arranged irregularly, loosely bilateral or uniserial, usually bent to some degree. Spines small, simple with smooth surface; triangular, conical or blister-shaped, often poorly developed or absent on older parts of the corallum. Polyps with 12 mesenteries; round with well-developed tentacles, arranged in a single row at terminal branchelets. Adjacent polyps often unequal” ( Molodtsova, 2011).

Remarks. Phylogenetic studies (using mtIGRs, CO3-CO1, and nuclear sequences 18S and 28S), match with well-defined diagnostic features, pointing to the monophyly of the monogeneric Family Leiopathidae   , which may require the establishment of a higher taxonomic status ( Brugler et al., 2013; Wagner & Opresko, 2015). The genus Leiopathes   is composed of nine species which have been widely recorded around the globe, at depths ranging from 37 to 2400 m, but no records for the South Atlantic hitherto. Within the genus Leiopathes   , there are two easily distinguishable forms in terms of branching patterns: sparsely branched forms with long terminal branches [ L. glaberrima (Esper, 1792)   ; L. valdiviae (Pax, 1915)   ; L. acanthophora Opresko, 1998   ; L. bullosa Opresko,1998   ; L. montana Molodtsova, 2011   ; and L. annosa Wagner & Opresko, 2015   ] and forms with short fan-shaped branches ( L. expansa Johnson, 1899   ; L. grimaldii Roule, 1902   ; and L. secunda Opresko, 1998   ). In the latter group, the terminal branches usually occur on the convex side of larger, fan-shaped branches ( Molodtsova, 2011; Opresko, 1998).

Distribution. Indian Ocean, Atlantic and Hawaii ( Molodtsova, 2011).