Octocorals from Hong Kong were studied at 18 sites down to a depth of 25 m in 1999. The collection of ∼90 specimens yielded nine species distributed in seven genera of the families Alcyoniidae, Nephtheidae, and Xeniidae (all are new zoogeographical records for Hong Kong), plus ca. 70 samples of azooxanthellate octocorals of the genera Dendronephthya (family Nephtheidae), Chironephthya, and Nephthyigorgia (family Nidaliidae), which were not identified to species level. The collection included Paraminabea rubeusa Benayahu & Fabricius, n. sp., which is described here. The impoverished nature of the zooxanthellate octocorals is reflected in the low number of species found in the families Alcyoniidae and Xeniidae (seven and one, respectively), families that typically contribute a high proportion of species in the Indo-Pacific region. It is crucial to implement effective conservation policies in Hong Kong to preserve its remaining zooxanthellate octocoral species and thereby prevent the local extinction of these species, including the newly described Sarcophyton tumulosum Benayahu & Ofwegen, 2009, and Lobophytum mortoni Benayahu & Ofwegen, 2009, which may be endemic to the region.
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Vol. 64 • No. 2