South Florida Octocorals - All Images

 

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Family

Anthothelidae

Common Name(s)

Deep-water sea fan, Black sea fan

Colony Form

Monoplanar stiff fan with dichotomous branches not interconnected; to ~1 m tall.

Axis

Flattened in plane of fan.

Branches

Flattened in plane of fan, dichotomous, not interconnected, 3-5 mm across. Secondary branches and unbranched twigs usually bent. Terminal twigs along fan periphery usually forked. Edges of twig ends folded over and joined so that twig tips are indented or grooved (=fistulose).

Apertures

Polyps restricted to sides of branches. Calices are low oval or slitlike mounds with eight lobes.

Mucus

None

Color

Red-brown, copper, dark brown or grey. Often appearing black in situ. Usually light brown when dried.

Sclerites

Polyp armature: flattened, slightly curved spindles to 0.5 mm long, arranged in eight series of inverted V’s (“en chevron”). Outer layer: chiefly elongate spindles 0.5–0.6 mm long, with ornamentation ranging from scattered small thorns to crowded tubercles. Inner layer: smooth to slightly warty, extremely slender needles 0.5–0.7 mm long.

Habitat

Deeper reefs, commonly along slopes, walls, crevices and canyons exposed to currents. Depth range: 3-368 m, usually below ~15 m.

Distribution

Georgia to Brazil, Bahamas, Caribbean Sea.

Notes

Unlike sea fans of genus Gorgonia, I. schrammi branchlets do not interconnect. Fans vibrate in strong currents. The indented or grooved twig tips are unique among shallow, Western Atlantic octocorals.

Date Taken

4-11-2016

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