Ovabunda faraunensis (Verseveldt & Cohen, 1971)

Halasz, Anna, McFadden, Catherine S., Aharonovich, Dafna, Toonen, Robert & Benayahu, Yehuda, 2014, A revision of the octocoral genus Ovabunda Alderslade, 2001 (Anthozoa, Octocorallia, Xeniidae), ZooKeys 373, pp. 1-41: 19-20

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Ovabunda faraunensis (Verseveldt & Cohen, 1971)


Ovabunda faraunensis (Verseveldt & Cohen, 1971)   Fig. 11 View Figure 11

Xenia faraunensis   Verseveldt & Cohen, 1971: 62, table 1; Benayahu 1990 table 1 listed only; Reinicke 1997: 35, figs 3b, 9a-b, plates 2-4, 7, 22.

Ovabunda faraunensis   ; Alderslade 2001: 51; Aharonovich and Benayahu 2011.


Holotype: HUJ I. Co. 140, northern Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, opposite Gezirat Fara’un (Coral Island) (29°27'46.95"N, 34°51'27.38"E), 18 m, 15 October 1969, coll. Y. Cohen.


The holotype is 16 mm high; its stalk is 6-10 mm long, 4 mm wide at the base and 7 mm wide at its uppermost part. Polyp’s body is up to 2-4 mm long and the tentacles 3-5 mm long, featuring two rows of pinnules on each side with 17-24 pinnules in the outermost row. The sclerites are Ovabunda   -type spheroids ( Fig. 11a View Figure 11 ), measuring 0.013-0.028 × 0.019-0.033 mm in diameter (n = 46 sclerites). Occasionally, two sclerites are fused, reaching up to 0.044 mm in maximal diameter ( Fig. 11b View Figure 11 ). Verseveldt and Cohen (1971) recorded non-pulsating polyps for this species. Colour of the ethanol-preserved holotype is beige.


At the time of examination the holotype was dry, and therefore precise dimensions of the pinnules could not be obtained. The original description ( Verseveldt and Cohen 1971: 62) indicated that: "The colony is 25 mm high. The stem is 15 mm high and 5-6 mm wide at the base, then narrows to 3-4 mm and widens again to 7 mm or more at the beginning of the polyparium. The anthocodiae are up to 10 mm long... the tentacles are 5-6.5 mm long". It is evident that the dimensions of the dried holotype are smaller than those of the original. The other features of the holotype recorded correspond to the original description, including two rows of pinnules, 17-24 pinnules in the outermost row, and sclerite diameter up to 0.044 mm (vs. 17-23 and 0.042 mm, in the original description). Reinicke (1997) presented a SEM micrograph of a single sclerite of Ovabunda faraunensis   which later led Alderslade (2001) to assign it to the genus Ovabunda   .


The current examination of the holotype ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 ) along with the examination of the holotype by Aharonovich and Benayahu (2011), further confirmed the previous assignment.

Similar species.

Ovabunda faraunensis   is most similar to Ovabunda arabica   . Although they both have two rows of pinnules and both have non-pulsating polyps in living colonies, the number of pinnules in the outermost row ranges from 17-24 in Ovabunda faraunensis   compared to 24-29 in Ovabunda arabica   .


Red Sea: Gulf of Aqaba, Sudan (see Reinicke 1997).