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Aiptasia pallida gets reclassified into new genus

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 30, 2014 09:00 AM
When reefkeepers talk about "Aiptasia," we're probably referring to one of two common species: Aiptasia pulchella or A.pallida. A new phylogenetic study has concluded the latter is morphologically different enough to deserve its own genus, Exaiptasia pallida.
Aiptasia pallida gets reclassified into new genus

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni) next to Laviactis lucida. Photo by Nick Hobgood

An Aiptasia by Any Other Name ...

The reclassification of Aiptasia pallida into its own (new) genus doesn't really make much of a difference for reefkeepers who are battling this age-old pest.  Still, it's always good to be up-to-date on science pertaining to our hobby. It's also not every day that a species described over 150 years ago gets reclassified into a new genus.

Also of interest: Ragactis lucida, a curly-cue/knobby tropical "Aiptasia" aquarists sometimes encounter, gets moved to a new genus, Laviactis.  The new genus is now reclassified into the family Aiptasiidae; Ragactis Laviactis used to be classified outside the family, but DNA shows they belong in the same family tree as other Aiptasia.  Um ... welcome to the family.  Now please die.


Aiptasia pulchella or Exaiptasia pallida.  Photo by Tim Wijgerde.  Learn more about the potential three-way symbiosis between Aiptasia, dinoflagellate, and cyanobacteria.

The new morphological revisions are published in the latest issue of ZooTaxa.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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