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A facies of Kophobelemnon (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) from Santa Maria di Leuca coral province (Mediterranean Sea)



Francesco Mastrototaro, Department of Biology, University of Bari, LRU CoNISMa Bari Campus, Via E. Orabona, 4,70125 Bari, Italy.



During a research cruise carried out in April 2010, aimed at updating the knowledge on the biodiversity of the Santa Maria di Leuca (SML) cold-water coral province (Mediterranean Sea), a facies of the sea pen Kophobelemnon stelliferum (Muller, 1776) was found on mud-dominated bottoms. This finding represents a new species and a new habitat record from the SML coral province as well as a new bathyal facies in the whole Central Mediterranean Sea. The colonies were collected using an epi-benthic sledge, at depths between 400 and 470 m. A significant positive relationship between polyp number and colony length was detected. Density of the colonies ranged from 0.003 to 0.038 N·m−2. Differences and affinities between Mediterranean and Atlantic occurrences of K. stelliferum are discussed.