Preliminary study on Acropora (Scleractinia: Astrocoeniina: Acroporidae) of the Persian Gulf, with emphasis on the north and northeastern areas


Abstract: Due to a lack of adequate taxonomic information on Acropora Oken, 1815 species in the Persian Gulf, especially those inhabiting the coasts of the northern and northeastern areas, an appraisal of the diversity of this genus required comprehensive and careful examination of a large number of specimens. To satisfy such a need, 10-15 cm pieces of more than 1100 colonies of staghorn corals were collected from the subtidal zones of different islands. The specimens were studied using both light stereo and scanning electron microscopes and were identified with regional and global keys. During the study, 9 species of Acropora were identified, including A. tortuosa (Dana, 1846) and A. mossambica Riegl, 1995, which are new to the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, A. horrida (Dana, 1846), A. nasuta (Dana, 1846), A. aspera (Dana, 1846), and A. muricata (Linnaeus, 1758) were identified, all of which were recorded for the first time from Iran. By adding these species to those previously reported from the area, the numbers of Acropora species in the study area and in the Persian Gulf reach 10 and 15, respectively.

Keywords: Khark, Larak, Farur, taxonomic key, islands, Iran, coral, Acropora

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