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30 August 2013 Molecular and morphological data support reclassification of the octocoral genus Isidoides

The rare octocoral genus Isidoides Nutting, 1910 was originally placed in the Gorgonellidae (now the Ellisellidae), even though it showed a remarkable similarity to the Isidae (now the Isididae). Isidoides was not classified in the Isididae mostly because the type specimen lacked skeletal nodes, a defining characteristic of that family. The genus was later assigned to the Chrysogorgiidae based on sclerite morphology. Specimens were recently collected in the south-western Pacific, providing material for genetic analysis and detailed characterisation of the morphology, and allowing us to consider the systematic placement of this taxon within the suborder Calcaxonia. A previously reported phylogeny allowed us to reject monophyly with the Chrysogorgiidae, and infer a close relationship with the Isididae subfamily Keratoisidinae. While scanning for molecular variation across mitochondrial genes, we discovered a novel gene order that is, based on available data, unique among metazoans. Despite these new data, the systematic placement of Isidoides is still unclear, as (1) the phylogenetic relationships among Isididae subfamilies remain poorly resolved, (2) genetic distances between mitochondrial mtMutS sequences from Isidoides and Keratoisidinae are characteristic of intra-familial distances, and (3) mitochondrial gene rearrangements may occur among confamilial genera. For these reasons, and because a revision of the Isididae is beyond the scope of this contribution, we amend the familial placement of Isidoides to incertae sedis.

© CSIRO 2013
"Molecular and morphological data support reclassification of the octocoral genus Isidoides," Invertebrate Systematics 27(4), 365-378, (30 August 2013).
Received: 30 June 2012; Accepted: 1 February 2013; Published: 30 August 2013
mitochondrial gene order
tropical deep-sea benthos
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