[Coral-List] Tubastraea vs. Tubastrea & request for new Caribbean-area taxonomic pubs.

Judith Lang jlang at riposi.net
Mon Dec 24 14:31:03 EST 2012

Hello August,
You may have seen them if you dive on reefs.
Tubastraea is the non-zooxanthellate, orange cup coral so beloved of illustrators of marine biology books and popular articles that usually grows in shaded habitats. The several species over here are invaders from the Indo-Pacific. 
For a photo of T. coccinea, the species that's most common, and has been longest, in the Caribbean, see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tubastrea or many other sources online.

The great star coral, Montastraea cavernosa, is also popular with photographers, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_star_coral or many other online examples.

Other star corals in the Caribbean area, as well as some Indo-Pacific species, have been called Montastraea for a number of decades.  However on the basis of new molecular and morphological studies, the complex of small-polyped Caribbean-area star corals, commonly called  "lobed," "mountainous" and "boulder" star corals, has recently been assigned to a genus called Orbicella  that at one time was synonymized with Montastraea, and are now to be referred to as O. annularis, O. faveolata and O. franksi, respectively. And the eight or so Indo-Pacifc species will be referred to the genus Phymastrea [Budd et al. 2012. Taxonomoic classification of the reef coral family Mussidae (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 11: 465-529].

In the coming months, we'll be revising the AGRRA training materials to accommodate taxonomic changes like these to the Caribbean-area coral fauna. 

All those with relevant papers in press or publication are encouraged to contact me so that we might be as much up-to-date as possible!

Best wishes,
Judy Lang
AGRRA Scientific Coordinator

On Dec 24, 2012, at 12:26 PM, August Heim wrote:

> I have to say that I am appreciate of this.  Even though I have no knowledge of what these species are.  
> On Dec 24, 2012, at 11:17 AM, Judith Lang wrote:
>> Hi Charles,
>> In the early 1970's, when Cornell University's John Wells, at the time senior scientist scleractinian taxonomist in the English-speaking world, sent me his re-working of my re-working the Jamaican coral list that he and Tom Goreau Sr. had earlier published, I noticed that  an "a" had been added between the "r" and the "e" in both Montastraea and Tubastraea. 
>> So naturally I wrote him to ask why. 
>> He responded with the following one sentence on a postcard that had been printed decades earlier in Jamaica but never previously used:   "Montastraea and Tubastraea are their original and correct spellings."
>> The original and correct  spellings were "reintroduced" in the Wells and Lang (1973) Appendix to his "Scleractinian Corals from Jamaica"  in the Bulletin of Marine Science.
>> Happy holidays everyone!
>> Judy
>> On Dec 23, 2012, at 8:08 PM, Delbeek, Charles wrote:
>>> Curious as to what the correct spelling for this genus is. I have seen it spelled both ways in the grey literature and scientific papers and books. WORMS says it is Tubastraea. http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=267930 and I have always written this way, except for my first book where we spelled it Tubastrea and it was pointed out as wrong.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Charles
>>> J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
>>> Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium
>>> California Academy of Sciences
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