This study provides new and additional data on morphology and a phylogenetic analysis of the recently described species Pelagia benovici Piraino, Aglieri, Scorrano & Boero, 2014 from the Northern Adriatic (Mediterranean Sea). Comprehensive morphological analyses of diagnostic characters, of which the most significant are marginal tentacles anatomy, basal pillars, gonad pattern, subgenital ostia and exumbrellar sensory pits, revealed significant differences from the currently known genera Sanderia, Chrysaora and Pelagia in the family Pelagiidae. A phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial genes (COI, 16S rRNA, 12S rRNA) and nuclear ribosomal genes (28S rRNA, ITS1/ITS2 regions), together with cladistic analysis of morphological characters, positioned Pelagia benovici as a sister taxon with Sanderia malayensis, and both share a common ancestor with Chrysaora hysoscella. Pelagia benovici does not share a direct common ancestor with the genus Pelagia, and thus we propose it should not belong to this genus. Therefore, a new genus Mawia, gen. nov. (Semaeostomeae : Pelagiidae) is described, and Pelagia benovici is renamed as Mawia benovici, comb, nov.
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Vol. 30 • No. 6