Gazave, E.; Carteron, S.; Chenuil, A.; Richelle-Maurer, E.; Boury-Esnault, N.; Borchiellini, C. (2010). Polyphyly of the genus Axinella and of the family Axinellidae (Porifera: Demospongiae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57, 35-47.
The genus Axinella is difficult to define on the basis of morphological characters and includes a heterogeneous assemblage of species. Several previous authors have suspected the polyphyly of both this genus and the family Axinellidae. To clarify the phylogeny of Axinellidae and Axinella, we propose a new hypothesis based on two molecular markers. In our analyses, Axinellidae and Axinella are polyphyletic assemblages. The 15 species of Axinellidae in our dataset belong to five clades and the nine species of Axinella to three clades. One Axinella clade, named Axinellap, contains the type-species of the genus: A. polypoides (plus A. aruensis, A. dissimilis, A. infundibuliformis and A. vaceleti). A new clade, Cymbaxinellap, is proposed, following the PhyloCode, it includes C. damicornis, C. verrucosa, C. corrugata and C. cantharella. The species Axinella cannabina is reallocated to a clade named Acanthellap. The clades Agelasp and Cymbaxinellap constitute a new clade: Agelasidap. Few morphological, biochemical and secondary structures characters support these groupings, highlighting the need for new characters for such problematic sponge groups. This work is an attempt to build a framework for the phylogeny of taxa allocated to Axinella and Axinellidae in the traditional classification.