Here we report on the first records of the families Parazoanthidae and Microzoanthidae and by extension for the suborder Macrocnemina (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia: Zoantharia) from the Red Sea. Despite a long history of zoantharian research in the region, previous records only reported species of the suborder Brachycnemina, from the genera Zoanthus and Palythoa. Both Parazoanthus sp. and Microzoanthus sp. specimens were first found from the same small coral cave at a reef at Jaz'air Sila, Saudi Arabia, and subsequently observed at another location in the northern Red Sea. Numerous Antipathozoanthus sp. colonies were observed at Marker 9 north of Yanbu, Saudi Arabia in association with antipatharians inside small caves. The Parazoanthus sp. was in association with numerous encrusting sponge species on the roof of the cave, similar to previously reported undescribed species in the Pacific Ocean. Microzoanthus sp. was found on hard rubble on the cave floor. These records represent large range extensions (e.g. thousands of kilometres) for each genus, demonstrating the overall lack of research on the order Zoantharia, especially within the Red Sea. © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2014.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science