We describe Hesiobranchia lifouensis n. gen., n. sp. from coral reefs at Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia in the south-west Pacific. It is distinguished from all other hesionids by the presence of two elongated lateral projections on the proboscis, by having both noto- and neurochaetae starting on segment 5, by the presence of parapodial branchiae, and by a unique pigmentation pattern. A morphology-based parsimony analysis of the phylogeny of hesionids indicates that H. lifouensis n. gen., n. sp. belongs within Gyptini and is the sister group of Gyptis Marion & Bobretzky in Marion, 1874.
Annelida, Polychaeta, Hesionidae, Hesiobranchia n. gen., Hesiobranchia lifouensis n. sp., new genus, new species.