Opresko, D. M., Wagner, D., Montgomery, A. D. & Brugler, M. R., 2012, Discovery of Aphanipathes verticillata (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia) in the Hawaiian Islands, Zootaxa 3348 (1), pp. 24-39: 26

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.3348.1.2

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Families in the order Antipatharia   are differentiated by the number of mesenteries in the polyps (six in the Cladopathidae   ; ten in the Aphanipathidae   , Myriopathidae   , Schizopathidae   and Stylopathidae   ; and 12 in the Leiopathidae   ), as well as by the size and morphology of the polyps and the morphology of the axial spines. Genera are differentiated mainly by the morphology of the corallum, and species within genera primarily by the size, shape and ornamentation of the axial spines and sometimes also by the size of the polyps (Opresko, 2003). Only recently has the morphology of living polyps been used to infer taxonomic relationships (i.e., the size and dimension of the polyp along both the transverse and sagittal axis, as well as the shape and relative length of the sagittal versus lateral tentacles, both of which are often obscured in preservation). Another character which may prove to be of special importance at the species and subspecies level, and which has only become available with the use of the scanning electron microscope, is the very fine ornamentation of the axial spines.