A molecular and morphological revision of genera of Asterinidae (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)

P. Mark O’Loughlin and Jonathan M. Waters
61(1): 1-40 (2004)

A molecular phylogeny has inspired a reappraisal of the systematics of the Asterinidae. New morphological characters are defined and illustrated and used to diagnose all genera. A table of the distribution of morphological characters among genera and key for genera of Asterinidae are provided. New genera of Asterinidae are erected: Aquilonastra O’Loughlin, Indianastra O’Loughlin, Parvulastra O’Loughlin and Pseudopatiria O’Loughlin. Patiria is raised out of synonymy with Asterina. Allopatiria is a junior synonym of Asterina, anasterina is a junior synonym of Disasterina, and Paxillasterina is a junior synonym of Asterinides. The genus Asterinopsis and the genus and species Desmopatiria flexilis are nomina nuda. Patiriella tangribensis is a nomen dubium. Genera reviewed are: Anseropoda, Asterina, Asterinides, Callopatiria, Cryptasterina, Disasterina, Kampylaster, Meridiastra, Nepanthia, Paranepanthia, Patiria, Patiriella, Pseudasterina, Pseudonepanthia, Stegnaster, Tegulaster and Tremaster. Asterina cephea var. iranica is raised to species status. Enoplopatiria siderea is a junior synonym of Asterina stellifera. Disasterina leptalacantha var. africana is no longer recognised as a subspecies. Disasterina spinulifera is a junior synonym of Disasterina praesignis. A synonymy of Tremaster novaecaledoniae with Tremaster mirabilis is formalised. Asterinid species reassigned on the basis of molecular evidence and morphological congruity are new combinations: Aquilonastra anomala, A. batheri, A. burtoni, A. coronata, A. minor, A. scobinata, Meridiastra calcar, M. gunnii, M. medius, M. mortenseni, M. occidens, M. oriens, Paranepanthia aucklandensis, Parvulastra calcarata, P. exigua, P. parvivipara, P. vivipara, Patiria chilensis, P. miniata, P. pectinifera. Species reassigned on the basis of morphological evidence are new combinations: Aquilonastra cepheus, A. corallicola, A. heteractis, A. iranica, A. limboonkengi, A. rosea, Asterina ocellifera, Asterinides hartmeyeri, A. pilosa, A. pompom, Disasterina ceylanica, D. longispina, Indianastra inopinata, I. sarasini, Nepanthia pedicellaris, Parvulastra dyscrita, Pseudonepanthia briareus, P. gracilis, P. grangei, P. nigrobrunnea, P. reinga, P. troughtoni, Pseudopatiria obtusa, Tegulaster alba, T. leptalacantha, T. praesignis. Three species remain incertae sedis: Asterina lorioli, Asterina novaezelandiae and Nepanthia brachiata. Atable of asterinid species is provided, with original and current combinations. It is concluded that Asterinidae is a cosmopolitan family, mainly of shallow-water narrow-range genera but including some more widespread in deeper waters of all oceans.

Full Article (PDF) Keywords: Echinodermata, Asteroidea, Asterinidae, new genera, taxonomy, molecular, morphology