Zoantharia (Cnidaria: Hexacorallia) of the Dutch Caribbean and One New Species of Parazoanthus

Species of the anthozoan order Zoantharia (=Zoanthidea) are common components of subtropical and tropical shallow water coral reefs. Despite a long history of research on their species diversity in the Caribbean, many regions within this sea remain underexamined. One such region is the Dutch Caribbean, including the islands of St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Saba, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, as well as the Saba Bank, for which no definitive species list exists. Here, combining examinations of specimens housed in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center collection with new specimens and records from field expeditions, we provide a list of zoantharian species found within the Dutch Caribbean. Our results demonstrate the presence at least 16 described species, including the newly described Parazoanthus atlanticus, and the additional potential presence of up to four undescribed species. These records of new and undescribed species demonstrate that although the zoantharian research history of the Caribbean is long, further discoveries remain to be found. In light of biodiversity loss and increasing anthropogenic pressure on declining coral reefs, documenting the diversity of zoantharians and other coral reef species to provide baseline data takes on a new urgency.

Back to search results