Textularia agglutinans d'Orbigny is a non-symbiont bearing and comparatively large benthic foraminiferal species with a widespread distribution across all oceans. In recent years, its populations have considerably expanded along the Israeli Mediterranean coast of the eastern Levantine basin. Despite its exceptionally widespread occurrence, no molecular data have yet been obtained. This study provides the first ribosomal DNA sequences of T. agglutinans complemented with morphological and ecological characterization, which are based on material collected during environmental monitoring of the hard bottom habitats along the Israeli Mediterranean coast, and from the Gulf of Elat (northern Red Sea). Our phylogenetic analyses reveal that all specimens from both provinces belong to the same genetic population, regardless their morphological variability. These results indicate that modern population of T. agglutinans found on the Mediterranean coast of Israel is probably Lessepsian. Our study also reveals that T. agglutinans has an epiphytic life mode, which probably enabled its successful colonization of the hard bottom habitats, at the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which consist of a diverse community of macroalgae. Our study further indicates that the species does not tolerate high SST (> 35°C), which will probably prevent its future expansion in the easternmost Mediterranean in light of the expected rise in temperatures.
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