Four new species of southern African octocorals (Cnidaria: Alcyonacea), with a further diagnostic revision of the genus Alcyonium Linnaeus, 1758



Four new species of soft corals are described from the shallow sublittoral of southern Africa. Three of the species are referable to the genus Alcyonium Linnaeus, 1758 (family Alcyoniidae), although two of these possess growth forms that are atypical for most members of the genus. A revised diagnosis of the genus is therefore included. A new species in the family Nephtheidae is also described, this being referable to the genus Capnella Gray, 1869. All four species are from the region between the Cape of Good Hope Peninsula and the eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This is the region of the Agulhas Bank, an austroafrican biogeographic region that shows a high incidence of endemism with respect to the marine invertebrate fauna.