Acryptolaria Norman, 1875,

Peña Cantero, Alvaro L., Marques, Antonio C. & Migotto, Alvaro E., 2007, Revision of the genus Acryptolaria Norman, 1875 (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa, Lafoeidae), Journal of Natural History 41 (5 - 8), pp. 229-291: 230-232

publication ID 10.1080/00222930701228132

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Acryptolaria Norman, 1875


Genus Acryptolaria Norman, 1875 

Scapus Norman 1875, p 173  . Parathecium Stechow 1919, p 852  . Osaealdaria Stechow 1923a, p 147.

Type species. Acryptolaria andersoni Totton, 1930  .


Lafoeidae  with adult colonies consisting of branched polysiphonic stems with a central axial tube from which branches arise. Hydrothecae present only on central axes of stem and branches. Hydrothecae alternately arranged, forming two longitudinal rows, usually in one plane. Hydrotheca tubiform, partially adnate to branch; without a diaphragm. Nematothecae absent. Gonothecae aggregated to form a coppinia, with or without defensive tubes. Gonophores in the form of fixed sporosacs. Cnidome consisting of two categories of nematocysts: large putative macrobasic mastigophores and small putative microbasic mastigophore.


The genus Cryptolaria Busk, 1857  was established by Busk (1857, p 173) for two species of hydroids from New Zealand: Cryptolaria exserta Busk, 1858  and Cryptolaria prima Busk, 1857  ( Bedot 1910).

Norman (1875), studying a submarine-cable fauna, found a species he considered identical to Cryptolaria exserta  . For him ( Norman 1875, p 172) C. exserta  ‘‘was devoid of the very characters on which the genus Cryptolaria  had been established, the hydrothecae being much exserted, and standing out at a considerable angle from the stem’’, concluding that ‘‘it is impossible that this species can remain in the same genus with C. prima  ’’, the type species of Cryptolaria  . Consequently, he proposed the genus Acryptolaria  for its reception as ‘‘Zoophyte ramose, irregularly branched, branches composed of several tubes; hydrothecae rather distant, subspirally or alternately arranged, tubular, not contracted at the base and prolonged into the branch itself; mouth somewhat patulous’’ ( Norman 1875, p 172).

Bedot (1912), however, argued that the diagnostic characteristics of the genus Acryptolaria  (including Cryptolaria exserta  ) were also present in most species of Cryptolaria  and, consequently, that the genus was unnecessary.

Stechow (1921) indicated that Cryptolaria  is characterized by having hydrothecae arranged in more than two rows along the stem and by the presence of a hydrothecal diaphragm, as in the sertulariids Selaginopsis Allman, 1876  and Staurotheca Allman, 1888  . He placed Cryptolaria exserta  in the genus Perisiphonia Allman, 1888  , but considered Perisiphonia  as a junior synonym of Acryptolaria  .

Stechow (1923a) regarded the taxonomic position of Cryptolaria  in the family Lafoeidae  as uncertain and considered it a doubtful synonym of Selaginopsis  , indicating that Cryptolaria  should not be used anymore. Stechow (1923a) included three species in Acryptolaria  : A. exserta (Busk, 1858)  , Acryptolaria pectinata ( Allman, 1888)  , and Acryptolaria chazaliei ( Versluys, 1899)  . In addition, Stechow (1923a) introduced the new generic name Osaealdaria (type species Cryptolaria crassicaulis Allman, 1888  ) for the species of Cryptolaria sensu Allman  , because the generic name Cryptolaria  was not available. Previously, Stechow had used three species assigned to Cryptolaria  as type species of the genera Stegolaria Stechow, 1913  (type species Cryptolaria geniculata Allman, 1888  ), Cryptolarella Stechow, 1913  (type species Cryptolaria abyssicola Allman, 1888  ), and Parathecium Stechow, 1919  (type species Cryptolaria abies Allman, 1877  ). The last was found to be a species of Acryptolaria  and, therefore, the genus Parathecium  is currently regarded as junior synonym of Acryptolaria  .

Totton (1930) pointed out Stechow’s misconception of Perisiphonia  being congeneric with Acryptolaria  . Indeed, Perisiphonia  is currently regarded as congeneric with Cryptolaria  , widely accepted as a valid genus of the family Lafoeidae  (cf. Millard 1975; Bouillon 1985; Rees and Vervoort 1987; Calder 1991), a position corroborated by a phylogenetic analysis ( Marques et al. 2006).

Totton (1930, p 162) noted that the material recorded by Norman (1875) was distinct from Cryptolaria exserta  [whose type material is unknown (cf. Totton 1930, p 161; Rees and Vervoort 1987, p 48–49)] and not congeneric with C. prima  (which had been redescribed as Perisiphonia quadriseriata  by Trebilcock 1928). Consequently, Totton gave the new name Acryptolaria andersoni  to Norman’s (1875) material and designated that species as the type species of the genus Acryptolaria  , at that time monotypic ( Totton 1930, p 161).

Although the specimen selected by Totton (1930) as the holotype of Acryptolaria andersoni  was deposited in the Natural History Museum of London, we could not locate it in its collection, and the registration number provided (Reg. No. does not correspond to any material deposited either in the spirit or in the slide collections. In the Herbarium index, the material is registered on a file but the corresponding specimen was not found. Therefore, we consider the type material of A. andersoni  , type species of the genus Acryptolaria  , lost.

Totton (1930) also indicated that Osaealdaria Stechow, 1923 should be considered a junior synonym of Acryptolaria  , because Osaealdaria crassicaulis  and Acryptolaria andersoni  , the two type species respectively, are congeneric and Acryptolaria  has priority.

Norman (1875) also described Scapus tubulifer  as a new species of epibiotic hydroid found on the colonies assigned by him to A. exserta  . However, as already noted by previous authors (cf. Levinsen 1893; Stechow 1923a; Totton 1930), S. tubulifer  actually corresponds to the coppinia of A. andersoni  .

The following species were described in or referred to the genus Acryptolaria  . Nevertheless, according to our diagnosis, only the species in bold belong to Acryptolaria  . The remaining species belong to other genera of Lafoeidae  ( Cryptolaria  , Grammaria  , or Zygophylax  ).












Acryptolaria Norman, 1875

Peña Cantero, Alvaro L., Marques, Antonio C. & Migotto, Alvaro E. 2007


Stechow 1919: 852


Norman 1875: 173