Monanchora Carter, 1883 is a genus of shallow-water marine sponges comprising 16 species distributed worldwide, two of them in the Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA): M. arbuscula (Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1864) and M. brasiliensis Esteves, Lerner, Lôbo-Hajdu & Hajdu, 2012. The former species stands out as one of the most variable demosponges, and is very similar in spicule complement and in secondary metabolite chemistry to the Mediterranean/eastern Atlantic Crambe crambe (Schmidt, 1862), type species of Crambe Vosmaer, 1880. The aim of the present study was to revise the genus Monanchora in the TWA. In addition, we critically analyse the monophyly of Crambe and Monanchora. Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses of 28S and 16S rRNA sequences of the latter genera, and a redescription of the ‘M. arbuscula complex’, revealed three species: M. arbuscula s.s., M. coccinea, sp. nov. and a new species of Acarnidae – Iophon parvachela, sp. nov. Three other new species from the TWA previously assigned to Monanchora were revealed by morphological analyses, and are also described: M. bahamensis, sp. nov., M. megasigmifera, sp. nov. and a new species of Chondropsidae – Batzella catarinensis, sp. nov. A key for species identification is provided. Our results suggest that the Eastern Brazil and Southeastern Brazil Ecoregions may represent centres of diversity for Monanchora in the TWA.
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Vol. 32 • No. 2