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Keywords:

  • “pseudocryptic” diversity;
  • 18S rRNA;
  • Corallina caespitosa;
  • Corallina officinalis;
  • coralline algae;
  • cox1;
  • integrative taxonomy;
  • morphology;
  • red algae

The Corallinoideae (Corallinaceae) is represented in the northeastern Atlantic by Corallina officinalis L.; Corallina elongata J. Ellis et Sol.; Haliptilon squamatum (L.) H. W. Johans., L. M. Irvine et A. M. Webster; and Jania rubens (L.) J. V. Lamour. The delimitation of these geniculate coralline red algae is based primarily on morphological characters. Molecular analysis based on cox1 and 18S rRNA gene phylogenies supported the division of the Corallinoideae into the tribes Janieae and Corallineae. Within the Janieae, a sequence difference of 46–48 bp (8.6%–8.9%) between specimens of H. squamatum and J. rubens in the cox1 phylogeny leads us to conclude that they are congeneric. J. rubens var. rubens and J. rubens var. corniculata (L.) Yendo clustered together in both phylogenies, suggesting that for those genes, there was no genetic basis for the morphological variation. Within the Corallineae, it appears that in some regions, the name C. elongata has been misapplied. C. officinalis samples formed two clusters that differed by 45–54 bp (8.4%–10.0%), indicating species-level divergence, and morphological differences were sufficient to define two species. One of these clusters was consistent with the morphology of the type specimen of C. officinalis (LINN 1293.9). The other species cluster is therefore described here as Corallina caespitosa sp. nov. This study has demonstrated that there is a clear need for a revision of the genus Corallina to determine the extent of “pseudocryptic” diversity in this group of red algae.