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Family

Plexauridae

Common Name(s)

Warty sea rod.

Colony Form

Bushy with tangled branches arising along much of colony, not just near base; to 1.8 m high; the only Eunicea species that does not exhibit a candelabrum pattern. Dichotomous branching in all directions.

Axis

Cylindrical in cross-section.

Branches

Ascending branches thick, flexible, cylindrical, long, usually 6.0-20 mm in diameter. Thinner at greatest depths.

Apertures

Regularly placed; calyx either present or not. Calices may be flat, conical, or mound-like (not tubular) and project with ridges on inner aperture lip. Aperture borders may be only projecting or appear sealed or gaping. Lower rim does not form an obvious lip-like structure as other Euniceas.

Mucus

Absent

Color

Color varies from reddish ochre to beige to dark ochre.

Sclerites

Polyp armature a wide collar with numerous rod sclerites about 0.1–0.5 mm long. Axial layer: pale violet spindles to 0.25 mm long, with a few but notable ornamens. Middle layer: transparent spindles 0.6–2 mm long, sometimes curved and widened in middle. Surface layer: Small and enlarged clubs with multiple and radial rows in the handle ending in a sharp head, to 0.12 mm. Also, torch clubs with one row of ornaments in the handle.

Habitat

On fore reef terraces and seaward reefs moderately exposed to wave and current in 10-30 m depths. Along the Outer Linear Reef ledge in Broward County, FL.

Distribution

Bahamas, Bermuda, South Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and the northern Caribbean. Uncommon in the southern Caribbean.

Notes

Possibly a complex of several species. Calyx morphotypes are usually found within the same habitat; morphotypes such as E. coronata deserve careful revision (Sánchez, 2009). Branch thickness and calyx exhibit high polymorphism among individuals.

Date Taken

4-11-2016

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