Laeta waheedae, Lau & Reimer, 2019

Lau, Yee Wah & Reimer, James D., 2019, A first phylogenetic study on stoloniferous octocorals off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, with the description of two new genera and five new species, ZooKeys 872, pp. 127-158: 127

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Laeta waheedae

sp. nov.

Laeta waheedae   sp. nov. Figures 2 d–f View Figure 2 , 5 View Figure 5

Material examined.

All specimens are from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia and collected by YW Lau. Holotype: NSMT-Co 1680, Udar, east of Udar Island (06°4'49.81"N, 116°5'13.16"E), 10 m depth. Paratypes: IPMB-C 01.00018, Mid Reef, east of Manukan Island, TARP (05°58'46.1"N, 116°00'10.6"E), 8 m depth. IPMB-C 01.00019, Gaya, Gaya Island, TARP (06°01'24.26"N, 116°00'13.55"E), 11 m depth.


The colony consists of ~50 polyps, which are connected through ribbon-like stolons (0.5-0.6 mm width). Polyps are spaced apart quite regularly (~3 mm). Anthocodiae retract fully into low oval to cylindrical calyces (~1 mm in width, ~0.5 mm in height), which do not retract into the stolon. Expanded polyps 3.5-4.0 mm in diameter. Oral membrane with eight shallow furrows running from intertentacular margin to mouth of polyp, dividing the membrane into eight shallow lobes. Distal two-thirds of tentacles extend from fused margins of the oral membrane. Tentacles with 6-8 pairs of widely spaced pinnules are arranged in a single row on either side of rachis.

Sclerites of anthocodiae are small smooth rods, 0.035-0.1 mm in length, with little ornamentation ( Figure 5c View Figure 5 ). Sclerites of calyx are table-radiates, 0.06-0.10 mm ( Figure 5d, e, g View Figure 5 ) and three types of rods: (1) rods branched with high tuberculate processes, 0.08-0.09 mm long ( Figure 5f View Figure 5 ), (2) rods with tubercles at one distal end of the rod, giving it a club-like appearance, 0.1-0.14 mm long ( Figure 5a View Figure 5 ), and (3) rods with table-shaped tubercles, 0.08-0.12 mm long ( Figure 5b View Figure 5 ).

Oral membrane has a blue colour in life (yellowish white when preserved in ethanol). The tentacles are brown in colour, partially with a greenish shimmer. Zooxanthellate.

Morphological variation.

The paratype colony consists of ~30 polyps. Tentacles of paratypes show variation in pinnule pairs, partly having nine pairs of widely spaced pinnules arranged in a single row on either side of rachis.


Udar Island, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Gaya Island, TARP, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.


Polyps of Laeta waheedae   gen. nov. et sp. nov. have the same blue-purple colour in life as those of Arula petunia   McFadden & Ofwegen, 2012, but there is a difference in the outer margins and lobes of the oral membrane; both are more pronounced in Arula petunia   . The holotype colony was attached to sponge tissue, but this epibiotic relation is not obligate.


Named after Dr. Zarinah Waheed, for her dedication to coral reef research and her guidance during fieldwork in Sabah.