• Belize;
  • benthic;
  • coral reef;
  • dinoflagellate;
  • Dinophyceae;
  • macroalgae;
  • mangrove;
  • morphology;
  • phylogeny;
  • Prorocentrales;
  • Prorocentrum belizeanum;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • taxonomy

As part of a long-term study of benthic dinoflagellates from the Belizean barrier reef system, we report a new species: Prorocentrum levis M. A. Faust, Kibler, Vandersea, P. A. Tester et Litaker sp. nov. P. levis cells are oval in valve view and range in size from 40 to 44 μm long and 37 to 40 μm wide. Each valve surface is smooth, with 221–238 valve pores and 99–130 marginal pores. These pores are uniformly small and range in diameter from 0.13 to 0.19 μm. Asexual reproduction in P. levis is atypical, occurring within a hyaline envelope, and produces long branching chains of adherent cells. A phylogenetic analysis of SSU rDNA indicated that of the Prorocentrum species sequenced so far, P. levis was most closely related to P. concavum. P. levis produces okadaic acid and dinophysis toxin-2 (DTX2). Further, SEM observations and SSU rDNA sequence for P. belizeanum M. A. Faust, which was isolated at the same time, are also presented.