Stichopathes pourtalesi Brook, 1889, the type species of the genus Stichopathes Brook, is redescribed on the basis of an examination of the type material originally identified by de Pourtalès as Antipathes desbonni Duchassaing and Michelotti and as Antipathes spiralis Pallas. Because the type series consists of multiple species, it was necessary to select a lectotype to clearly define the species. The species is characterized by a spiral, unbranched corallum; triangular, compressed spines, some of which have one or more lobes at the apex; very faint elongate papillae on the surface of the spines extending from near the apex to as much as one-half the distance to the base; and large polyps with long tentacles (in preserved specimens). The species is similar to Stichopathes gracilis (Gray); however, scanning electron microscopy indicates that there are distinct differences between the two species in the microscopic surface ornamentation of the spines.
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Vol. 540 • No. 1