Cryptophyton jedsmithi, Williams, Gary C., 2013

Williams, Gary C., 2013, New taxa and revisionary systematics of alcyonacean octocorals from the Pacific coast of North America (Cnidaria, Anthozoa), ZooKeys 283, pp. 15-42: 16-21

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scientific name

Cryptophyton jedsmithi

sp. n.

Cryptophyton jedsmithi   ZBK   sp. n. Figures 1-4, 19

Species diagnosis.

Stolons ribbon-like to somewhat broadened in some areas. Anthosteles hemispherical, arise directly from basal stolons, elevated stolonic bars or transverse platforms absent. Anthocodial armature absent. Sclerites of stolons and anthosteles 0.06-0.10 mm in diameter, mostly spiny balls or stellate bodies with projecting processes in three dimensions.

Type material.

Holotype. CAS 177194. North America, U.S.A., California, San Diego County, San Diego, Point Loma, 32°42'N, 117°15'20"W, 12 February 2006, collector: Jeff Goddard, one specimen wet-preserved in 95% ethanol.

Habitat and distribution

(Figure 19): Under a boulder in the low rocky intertidal zone at the type locality.


The species is named for Jedediah Strong Smith, American trailblazer and cartographer, who explored vast regions of western North America between 1822 and 1831, and along the Pacific Coast, including San Diego in December of 1826 ( Brooks 1977) - the area of the type locality of the new species.


Colonial morphology (Figures 1A, 2). The holotype consists of approximately eighty-five polyps arising from flattened basal stolons. The stolons encrust a piece of dead cheilostomatid bryozoan, 32 mm long by 20 mm wide. The surface of the bryozoan is interspersed with several calcareous tubes of a serpulid polychaete.

Polyps (Figures 1 B–C). Anthosteles are moundlike, rounded, hemispherical to subcylindrical. Anthocodiae are mostly retracted within the anthosteles, although a few are emergent. The anthosteles are approximately equal in height and diameter, mostly 1-1.4 mm.

Sclerites (Figures 1 D–E, 3, 4). Sclerites of the coenencyme and anthosteles resemble spiny balls or stellate bodies with projecting processes in three dimensions; 0.05 - 0.10 mm long. Sclerites are absent from the anthocodiae and polyp bodies.

Color (Figures 1 A–C). Color in life: the anthosteles are pale orange and the anthocodiae are white. Wet-preserved holotype: stolons and anthosteles light grayish white, while the emergent anthocodiae are white.

Differential diagnosis.

Two species of the genus Cryptophyton   are known, Cryptophyton goddardi   Williams, 2000 and Cryptophyton jedsmithi   sp. n. The two species differ in sclerite shape. Those of Cryptophyton goddardi   are irregularly-shaped radiates, tuberculated rods, and shuttles ( Williams 2000: 337), while those of Cryptophyton jedsmithi   sp. n. mostly resemble spiny balls or stellate bodies (Figures 1 D–E, 3-4).

The geographic range of Cryptophyton goddardi   was originally known only from the type locality of central Oregon on the Pacific Coast of the United States, but has recently been extended southwards to southern California, and has been collected at seven locations (Figure 19), while Cryptophyton jedsmithi   sp. n. is known only from the type locality - San Diego, California (Figure 19).

Key to the species of Cryptophyton