Ptilophora leliaertii and Ptilophora coppejansii, two new species of Gelidiales (Rhodophyta) from South Africa
Ptilophora leliaertii Tronchin et De Clerck sp. nov. and Ptilophora coppejansii Tronchin et De Clerck sp. nov. are described from Protea Banks reef situated off the southern coast of the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. They have thus far been collected only on this reef system. Ptilophora leliaertii is distinguishable by its compound pinnate branching and the concave nature of its flattened branches. Ptilophora coppejansii is distinguishable by short, closely spaced pinnae in its distal parts, arising from irregularly arranged indeterminate branches with broad flexuous alae and a distinct midrib. Analyses of rbcL and LSU gene sequences resolve both species as distinct, well-supported taxa, with P. coppejansii sister to Ptilophora diversifolia (Suhr) Papenfuss, and P. leliaertii sister to Ptilophora helenae (Dickinson) R. Norris. The reinstatement of P. helenae, a species recently placed in synonymy with Ptilophora pectinata (A. Gepp & E. Gepp) R. Norris from Australia, is proposed here based on molecular, morphological and biogeographical evidence.