The stoloniferous octocoral, Hanabira yukibana, gen. nov., sp. nov., of the southern Ryukyus has morphological and symbiont variation: supplementary material
Stoloniferan octocorals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Octocorallia: Alcyonacea) are a relatively unexplored fauna in the Ryukyus (southern Japan), known to be a tropical marine region of high biodiversity and endemism of species. Specimens of stoloniferous octocorals were collected during fieldwork along the coasts of two islands (Okinawa and Iriomote) in the Okinawa Prefecture. Despite their phenotypic polyp variation, this study shows their morphological and molecular uniqueness, leading to the description of a new genus with a single species: Hanabira yukibana, gen. nov., sp. nov. They are placed within the Clavulariidae and form a sister clade basally to the genus Knopia Alderslade & McFadden, 2007 and species of Clavularia Blainville, 1830. The polyps of this new species show morphological variation in both shape and sclerite density, but there is conformity in the typical overall petal shaped tentacles, which have fused pinnules (pseudopinnules). Depending on the densities of their sclerites and their photosynthetic endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) of the family Symbiodiniaceae, there is a characteristic sheen present in the tentacles. Moreover, the zooxanthellae hosted by our specimens form a clear, small-scale biogeographic pattern; all H. yukibana specimens from Okinawa Island contained zooxanthellae of the genus Cladocopium Lajeunesse & H.J. Jeong, 2018 (= former Symbiodinium ‘Clade C’) and all specimens from Iriomote Island hosted zooxanthellae of the genus Durusdinium LaJeunesse, 2018 (= former Symbiodinium ‘Clade D’). These results show the potential for variation among the Symbiodiniaceae floras within octocorals, something that has not yet been investigated for the large majority of zooxanthellate octocoral species.