Unravelling the moons: Review of the genera paratetilla and cinachyrella in the indo-pacific (demospongiae, tetractinellida, tetillidae)

Nadiezhda Santodomingo*, Leontine E. Becking

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Paratetilla bacca (Selenka, 1867) and Cinachyrella australiensis (Carter, 1886) occur in a broad range of marine environments and are allegedly widely distributed species in the Indo-Pacific. We coin the term ‘moon sponges’ for these species as they are spherical in shape with numerous porocalices resembling the lunar surface. Both species have a complex taxonomic history with high synonymization, in particular by Burton (1934, 1959). An examination of the junior synonyms proposed by Burton (1934, 1959) was conducted to establish the validity of the names. More than 230 specimens from Naturalis Biodiversity Center were reviewed that belong to the genera Paratetilla and Cinachyrella from marine lakes, coral reefs, and mangroves in Indonesia. The aim of the current study was to untangle the taxonomic history, describe the collection of moon sponges from Indonesia, and develop a key. We extensively reviewed the taxonomic literature as well as holotypes of most of the species synonymized by Burton. The taxonomic history of Paratetilla spp. and Cinachyrella australiensis showed some cases of misinterpreted synonyms, misidentifications, and lack of detailed descriptions for some species. The conclusion of the revision is that there are three valid species of Paratetilla (P. arcifera, P. bacca, and P. corrugata) and four valid species of Cinachyrella (C. australiensis, C. porosa, C. paterifera, and C. schulzei) in Indonesia. This is furthermore corroborated by molecular work from previous studies. Paratetilla arcifera Wilson 1925 and C. porosa (Lendenfeld, 1888) are resurrected. A full review of taxonomic history is provided as well as a key for identification of moon sponges from Indonesia. All species are sympatric and we expect that there are undescribed species remaining within the Tetillidae from the Indo-Pacific. Our current review provides the framework from which to describe new species in the genera Paratetilla and Cinachyrella from the Indo-Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-46
Number of pages46
Issue number791
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2018


  • Anchialine systems
  • Coral reef
  • Mangrove
  • Marine lake
  • Porifera


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