A phylogeny of the family poritidae (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) based on molecular and morphological analyses

Yuko F. Kitano, Francesca Benzoni, Roberto Arrigoni, Yoshihisa Shirayama, Carden C. Wallace, Hironobu Fukami

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    40 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The family Poritidae formerly included 6 genera: Alveopora, Goniopora, Machadoporites, Porites, Poritipora, and Stylaraea. Morphologically, the genera can be differentiated based on the number of tentacles, the number of septa and their arrangement, the length of the polyp column, and the diameter of the corallites. However, the phylogenetic relationships within and between the genera are unknown or contentious. On the one hand, Alveopora has been transferred to the Acroporidae recently because it was shown to be more closely related to this family than to the Poritidae by previous molecular studies. On the other hand, Goniopora is morphologically similar to 2 recently described genera, Machadoporites and Poritipora, particularly with regard to the number of septa (approximately 24), but they have not yet been investigated at the molecular level. In this study, we analyzed 93 samples from all 5 poritid genera and Alveopora using 2 genetic markers (the barcoding region of the mitochondrial COI and the ITS region of the nuclear rDNA) to investigate their phylogenetic relationships and to revise their taxonomy. The reconstructed molecular trees confirmed that Alveopora is genetically distant from all poritid genera but closely related to the family Acroporidae, whereas the other genera are genetically closely related. The molecular trees also revealed that Machadoporites and Poritipora were indistinguishable from Goniopora. However, Goniopora stutchburyi was genetically isolated from the other congeneric species and formed a sister group to Goniopora together with Porites and Stylaraea , thus suggesting that 24 septa could be an ancestral feature in the Poritidae. Based on these data, we move G. stutchburyi into a new genus, Bernardpora gen. nov., whereas Machadoporites and Poritipora are merged with Goniopora. © 2014 Kitano et al.
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume9
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 28 2014

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