Clavulariidae sp.,

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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Clavulariidae sp.


Clavulariidae sp.  Figure 3aView Figure 3

Material examined.

All specimens are from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. NSMT-Co 1686, Edgell Patches, west of Sapi Island (06°00'38.7"N, 115°59'22.2"E), 18 m depth, coll. YW Lau. IPMB-C 01.00016, Gaya Clement Reef, west of Gaya Island, TARP (06°01'24.26"N, 116°00'13.55"E), 11 m depth, coll. YW Lau.


Colonies with 20-30 polyps are connected through flattened stolons, which have a varying width of 0.5-1 mm. Colonies can be loosely attached to sponge or rocky substrates, such as coral rubble. Polyps are transparent and clustered in groups, connected by stolons with lengths up to 4-5 mm. Expanded polyps were ~6.0-7.0 mm in width when alive, with the pharynx visible in all polyps. Polyps retract fully into the calyx, which is cylinder-shaped (~1.3 mm width and up to 1.5 mm tall) and do not retract fully into the stolon. The tentacles have approximately 11 pairs of pinnules, which are widely spaced apart. No sclerites were found in the specimens. Polyps are whitish translucent when alive (yellowish white when preserved in ethanol). Azooxanthellate.


West of Sapi and Gaya Islands, TARP, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.


This material, henceforth Clavulariidae  sp., can be identified to the family level Clavulariidae  Hickson, 1894 by its initial morphological resemblance to the type species Azoriella bayeri  Lopez-Gonzalez & Gili, 2001 and Cervera atlantica  Lopez-Gonzalez et al., 1995 in having similar whitish translucent polyps, although, the polyps of C. atlantica  are translucently orange. However, more diagnostic morphological features and more specimens are necessary before a genus- and species-level distinction can be made.

The main difference between Clavulariidae  sp. and A. bayeri  can be found in the absence of sclerites in Clavulariidae  sp. Additionally, both type species C. atlantica  and A. bayeri  have polyps that are smaller than in Clavulariidae  sp.; C. atlantica  , ~5.1 mm width, A. bayeri  , ~3.6 mm width, and Clavulariidae  sp., ~6.0-7.0 mm width. As well, C. atlantica  and A. bayeri  have more pinnules on either side of the tentacles than seen in Clavularidae  sp.; both C. atlantica  and A. bayeri  have 12-14 pinnules and Clavulariidae  sp. has tentacles with 11 pairs.