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Peltidiphonte gen. n., a New Taxon of Laophontidae (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) from Coral Substrates of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean

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A new genus of the harpacticoid family Laophontidae is described and named Peltidiphonte gen. n. Eight new species are assigned to this genus; they were collected from different locations in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, including the Comoros, the Kenyan coast, the Red Sea, the Andaman Islands, the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the northeastern coast of Australia. Most of the specimens were collected from dead coral substrates, suggesting a close affinity between the members of the new genus and this substrate. Peltidiphonte gen. n. can easily be discriminated from other genera of the family by the extremely depressed body and by the shape of the antennule, bearing two (or three) processes on the first segment and a hook-like process along the outer margin of the second segment. An identification key for the new genus is provided.

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