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On the genus Spirobranchus (Annelida, Polychaeta, Serpulidae) from the northern Red Sea, and a description of a new species
Species of the genus Spirobranchus, commonly known as Christmas tree worms, are abundant throughout tropical parts of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Information on the species inhabiting the Red Sea in general and the Gulf of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba) in particular, has so far been very limited. Here we present a multi-gene phylogenetic analysis, examining both mitochondrial (Cyt-b) and nuclear (ITS2 and 18S) markers, to supports the presence of four distinct Spirobranchus species in the Gulf of Eilat: S. corniculatus (including three taxa previously regarded as full species; S. gaymardi, S. cruciger, and S. corniculatus), S. cf. tetraceros, S. gardineri and a new species Spirobranchus aloni, likely endemic to the Red Sea (including two morphotypes with different opercular morphology). The results presented here emphasize that the combination of molecular and in-depth morphological evaluation holds great prospects for a better understanding of species divergence and relationships.
IS17061 Accepted 25 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017