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Adeylithon bosencei gen. et sp. nov. (Corallinales, Rhodophyta): a new reef‐building genus with anatomical affinities with the fossil Aethesolithon

Peña, Viviana, Le Gall, Line, Rösler, Anja, Payri, Claude E., Braga, Juan Carlos
Journal of phycology 2019 v.55 no.1 pp. 134-145
DNA, Hydrolithon, Miocene epoch, ancestry, coral reefs, fossils, new genus, new species, nucleotide sequences, thallus, vegetative cells, Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu
Adeylithon gen. nov. with one species, A. bosencei sp. nov., belonging to the subfamily Hydrolithoideae is described from Pacific coral reefs based on psbA sequences and morpho‐anatomy. In contrast with Hydrolithon, A. bosencei showed layers of large polygonal “cells,” which resulted from extensive lateral fusions of perithallial cells, interspersed among layers of vegetative cells. This anatomical feature is shared with the fossil Aethesolithon, but lacking DNA sequences from the fossils and the fragmentary nature of Aethesolithon type material, we cannot ascertain if Adeylithon and Aethesolithon are congeneric. Morpho‐anatomical features of A. bosencei were generally congruent with diagnostic features of the subfamily Hydrolithoideae: (i) outline of cell filaments entirely lost in large portions due to pervasive and extensive cell fusions, (ii) trichocytes not arranged in tightly packed horizontal fields, (iii) basal layer without palisade cells, and (iv) cells lining the canal pore oriented more or less perpendicular to roof surface and not protruding into the canal. However, it showed a predominant monomerous thallus organization and trichocytes were disposed in large pustulate, horizontal fields, although they were not tightly packed and did not become distinctly buried in the thallus. Only mature tetrasporangial conceptacles were observed, therefore the type of conceptacle roof formation remained undetermined. Adeylithon bosencei occurs on shallow coral reefs, in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and South Pacific islands (Fiji, Vanuatu). Fossil Aethesolithon is considered an important component of shallow coral reefs since the Miocene; fossil records showed a broad Indo‐Pacific distribution, but a long‐term process of range contraction in the last 2.6 million years, resulting in an overlap with the distribution of the extant Adeylithon. While the congeneric nature of extant and fossil taxa remained uncertain, similarities in morpho‐anatomy, habitat, and distribution may indicate that both taxa likely shared a common ancestor.