An octocoral survey conducted in the mesophotic coral ecosystem (MCE) of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea) yielded a new species of the speciose reef-dwelling genus Sinularia. It features encrusting colony morphology with a thin, funnel-shaped polypary. Sinularia mesophotica sp. n. (family Alcyoniidae) is described and compared to the other congeners with similar morphology. Both the morphological and molecular examination justified the establishment of the new species, also assigning it to a new genetic clade within Sinularia. The results highlight its unique phylogenetic position within the genus, and this is the first described species of a mesophotic zooxanthellate octocoral.
Octocorallia (Soft Corals)
Israel - Red Sea
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)