The plate formula in the genus Gonyaulax Diesing was redefined as Po, 3’, 2a, 6”, 6c, 4-8s, 5’”, 1p, 1”” 
Gonyaulax spinifera has been related to production of Yessotoxins (YTXs), a group of structurally related polyether toxins, which can accumulate in shellfish and can produce symptoms similar to those produced by Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins.
All species are marine, except for one freshwater species Gonyaulax apiculata.
It previously included several species, which are now considered to belong to a separate genus, e.g. Gonyaulax tamarensis (now: Alexandrium tamarense), Gonyaulax grindleyi (now Protoceratium reticulatum) and Gonyaulax polyedra (now: Lingulodinium polyedrum).
- Rollo, Franco; Sassarolil, Stefano; Boni, Laurita; Marota, Isolina (1995-04-28). AQUATIC MICROBIAL ECOLOGY (Aquat microb Eco 9) (PDF) 9. Camerino, Italy. p. 55. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
- Dodge J.D. 1989. Some revisions of the family Gonyaulacaceae (Dinophyceae) based on scanning electron microscope study. Bot. Mar. 32: 275-298.
- Paz et al. 2008. Yessotoxins, a Group of Marine Polyether Toxins: an Overview. Mar. Drugs 2008, 6, 73-102; DOI: 10.3390/md20080005
- White, A W (Jan 1981). "MARINE ZOO PLANKTON CAN ACCUMULATE AND RETAIN DINOFLAGELLATE TOXINS AND CAUSE FISH KILLS". ASOL Limnology and Oceanography 26 (1): 103-109.
- Diaz, Patricio; Molinet, Carlos; Seguel, Miriam; Labra, Gissela; Figueroa, Rosa (December 2014). "Coupling planktonic and benthic shifts during a bloom of Alexandrium catenella in southern Chile: Implications for bloom dynamics and recurrence". Harmful Algae 40 (1): 9-22. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2014.10.001.