Snowflake coral, White telesto
Dense bushy clusters of tangled, flexible, hollow stalks and branches with a prominent polyp at tip of each. Stalks with eight longitudinal grooves, sometimes >30 cm long. Branching is monopodial—main stalks arise as primary (axial) polyps from encrusting stolons and give rise to lateral daughter polyps by budding.
Often numerous, cylindrical, arising laterally from primary stalks.
Tubular calices, 3-5 mm long, 1.5 mm wide, and 5-10 mm apart, commonly in pairs or threes.
White to pale pink. Off white, beige or light brown when dry. Polyps white.
Polyp armature: row of small rods in base of each tentacle and in each mesentery below tentacle bases. Body wall: branching thorny rods 0.15-0.35 mm long that may partially fuse; slender curved spindles to 0.6 mm long, with few thorns, not fused.
On natural and artificial hard substrates including pilings, wreckage, and under ledges and in caves protected from sunlight.
South Carolina to Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea; low tide to 104 m. Non-native in Hawaii, western Pacific and eastern Indian Oceans.