South Florida Octocorals - All Images

 

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Family

Plexauridae

Common Name(s)

Doughnut sea rod.

Colony Form

Small irregular candelabrum with sparse and disorganized branching but in a dichotomous trend; colonies usually less than 30 cm, but up to 50 cm tall.

Axis

Very thin, almost imperceptible; cylindrical in cross-section.

Branches

Slim branches 2.5-3.5 mm in diameter; tip sometimes slightly bulbous.

Apertures

Low calyx developed as enlargement of weak lower lip.

Mucus

Absent

Color

Black-gray to ochre; polyps brown.

Sclerites

Axial layer: spindles to 0.2 mm long, colorless or slightly violet, sometimes with large ornamentation. Middle layer with spindles to 2 mm long. Surface layer: clubs with smooth folds, sometimes fused, to 0.18 mm long. Polyp armature: slightly curved rods 0.05-0.22 mm long.

Habitat

Protected reef areas with intermediate wave exposure and depth, to ~15 m.

Distribution

Widespread: Bahamas, Bermuda, South Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean Sea.

Notes

Grows mainly through asexual propagation. E. fusca size and colony construction differ from that of E. tayrona due to asexual propagation in the former. Specimens of the two species taken at the same site differ in composition of secondary metabolites (terpenoids).

Date Taken

4-11-2016

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