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Family

Anthothelidae

Common Name(s)

Encrusting gorgonian

Colony Form

Irregular mat <1 cm thick, encrusting over hard substrates. Elongated polyp tentacles appear as long fur or hair when extended. Rind appears smooth and leathery when polyps are retracted.

Axis

None

Branches

None

Apertures

Pinhole-sized, often star-shaped, sometimes slightly projecting.

Mucus

Absent, but surface slippery.

Color

Tan with paler apertures; underside reddish; polyps tan or light brown.

Sclerites

All 6-radiate, colorless in outer cortex, red in inner cortex.

Habitat

Most shallow reef environments.

Distribution

Bahamas, South Florida, and Caribbean Sea.

Notes

Unlike similar Briareum polyanthes, E. caribaeorum forms thin, tan, encrusting mats on hard surfaces rather than on other octocorals. Bases of B. asbestinum colonies often encrust but give rise to upright rods.

Date Taken

4-11-2016

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