A new species of predatory nudibranch (Gastropoda: Trinchesiidae) of the coral pavona decussata

Juntong Hu, Yanjie Zhang, James Yang Xie, Jianwen QIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Some nudibranchs are predators of scleractinian corals, but little is known about their diversity. Here we describe Phestilla fuscostriata sp. nov., the first species of nudibranch that preys on Pavona decussata, a structure-forming agariciid species in the South China Sea. This new species has a white body with brown pigmentation on the dorsum and cerata, and exhibits excellent mimicry by matching the colour of its coral host. The nudibranch lays crescent-shaped egg masses on the coral surface, where the embryos develop and hatch in 2–3 weeks. This new species possesses a large number of cerata that are arranged in widely-spaced rows, with each row having one dorsal ceras and zero to several ventral cerata, which distinguishes it from all other congeneric species. A comparison of the mitochondrial COI and 16S rRNA genes and the nuclear H3 gene between P. fuscostriata sp. nov. and other Phestilla spp. found that their interspecific distances are large enough to justify the recognition of the new species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalZoological Studies
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Coral health
  • Coral-eating
  • Corallivory
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Phestilla


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