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Family

Plexauridae

Common Name(s)

Knobby candelabra.

Colony Form

Bushy candelabrum-like or with a few long branches; to 1 m tall.

Axis

Cylindrical, very thin at branch tips.

Branches

Thick, ascending branches; never broad or flattened, clavate; usually 5-10 mm in diameter.

Apertures

Calices with small, upturned lower lip, never tube-like, usually producing a coarse texture.

Mucus

Absent

Color

Gray to black with brown polyps. Dry specimens are deep black but with paler calices.

Sclerites

Polyp armature: long curved rods 0.45-0.55 mm long; medium rods irregularly curved (0.14-0.23 mm), small flat rods (0.05-0.12 mm), and occasionally abundant octoradiate forms in tentacles. Axial layer: strongly ornamented spindles, colorless or slightly purple, sometimes including branching processes, to 0.3 mm long. Middle layer: spindles 0.69-1.9 mm long. Surface layer: foliate clubs to 0.15 mm long.

Habitat

Leeward side of reef terraces, upper reef slopes in 10-30 m depths.

Distribution

South Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and northern Lesser Antilles. Uncommon in the southern Caribbean.

Notes

Northern specimens from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico have thinner branches than those from South America.

Date Taken

4-11-2016

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