We document the benthic ctenophores Coeloplana sp. and Vallicula multiformis from Oman, extending their geographic range. A new Coeloplana species was found forming aggregations on gorgonians of two octocoral host genera, Melithaea and Euplexaura, representing associations previously unknown to occur in the Indo-West Pacific region. Our findings also illustrate the concurrent presence of the ectocommensal ophiuroid Ophiothela mirabilis, which adversely affects other Coeloplana species in the tropical West Atlantic, where it is considered invasive. This exploration contributes to our understanding of the biogeography, species distribution, and ectosymbiotic associations of these genera, setting the stage for a comprehensive species description and in-depth analysis of host relationships in future studies.

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Staff publications

Samimi-Namin, K., Claereboudt, Michel R., Hoeksema, B., McFadden, Catherine S., Bezio, Nicholas, & Paulay, Gustav. (2023). Aggregations of a Sessile Ctenophore, Coeloplana sp., on Indo-West Pacific Gorgonians. Diversity, 15(10), 1060–1060. doi:10.3390/d15101060