Interactive Identification Guide to South Florida Octocorals

References on Tropical Western Atlantic Octocorals

Alcolado PM (1985) Sinonimia de Plexaura fusifera Kunze, 1916, con P. dichotoma (Esper, 1791) (Coelenterata:Gorgonacea). Poeyana 294:1-3

Bayer FM (1954) Anthozoa: Alcyonaria. In: Galtsoff PS (ed) Gulf of Mexico: its origin, waters and marine life. Fishery Bulletin 89. p 279-284

Bayer FM (1959a) A review of the gorgonacean genus Placogorgia Studer, with a description of Placogorgia tribuloides, a new species from the Straits of Florida. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 49(2):54-61

Bayer FM (1959b) Octocorals from Suriname and the adjacent coasts of South America. Studies on the Fauna of Suriname and other Guyanas 3(6):1-43

Bayer FM (1961) The shallow-water Octocorallia of the West Indian region. A manual for marine biologists. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands 12:1-373

Bayer FM (1981a) Key to the genera of Octocorallia exclusive of Pennatulacea (Coelenterata: Anthozoa), with diagnoses of new taxa. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94:902-947

Bayer FM (1981b) On some genera of stoloniferous octocorals (Coelenterata: Anthozoa), with descriptions of new taxa. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94:878-901

Bayer FM, Grasshoff M, Verseveldt J (1983) Illustrated Trilingual Glossary of Morphological and Anatomical Terms Applied to Octocorallia. EJ Brill/Dr W Backhuys, Leiden

Bayer FM, Macintyre IG (2001) The mineral component of the axis and holdfast of some gorgonacean octocorals (Coelenterata: Anthozoa), with special reference to the family Gorgoniidae. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 114(1):309-345, figs. 1-23, table 1

Beiring EA, Lasker HR (2000) Egg production by colonies of a gorgonian coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series 196:169-177

Boller ML, Swain TD, Lasker HR (2002) Skeletal morphology and material properties of a fragmenting gorgonian coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series 228:131-141

Cairns, Stephen (1977) Guide to the commoner shallow-water gorgonians (sea whips, sea feathers, and sea fans) of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean region. University of Miami, Miami, Florida. Pp. 1-74

Castanaro J, Lasker HR (2003) Effects of clipping on growth of colonies of the Caribbean gorgonian Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. Invertebrate Biology 122:209-307

Cobar O, Rodriguez ADR, Padilla OLP, Sánchez JA (1997) The Calyculaglycosidases: Diphol-type diterpene glycusidases exhibiting anti-inflammatory activity from the Caribbean Gorgonian Eunicea sp. Journal of Organic Chemistry 62:7183-7188

Coffroth MA (1984) Ingestion and incorporation of coral mucus aggregates by a gorgonian soft coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series 17:193-199

Coffroth MA, Lasker HR, Diamond ME, Bruenn JA, Bermingham E (1992) DNA fingerprints of a gorgonian coral: A method for detecting clonal structure in a vegetative species. Marine Biology 114:317-325

Coffroth MA and Lasker HR (1998) Population structure of a clonal gorgonian coral: the interplay between clonal reproduction and disturbance. Evolution 52:379-383

Coffroth MA and Lasker HR (1998) Larval paternity and male reproductive success of a broadcast spawning gorgonian. Marine Biology 131:329-337

Collin R, Diaz MC, Norenburg J, Roch RM, Sánchez JA, Schulze A, Schwartz M, Valdes A (2005) Photographic Identification Guide to Some Common Marine Invertebrates of Boca Del Toro, Panama. Caribbean Journal of Science 41(3):638-707

Cronin G, Hay ME, Fenical W, Lindquist N (1995) Distribution, density, and sequestration of host chemical defenses by the specialist nudibranch Tritonia hamnerorum found at high densities on the sea fan Gorgonia ventalina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 119(1-3): 177-189.

Daly M, Brugler MR, Cartwright P, Collins AG, Dawson MN, Fautin DG, France SC, McFadden CS, Opresko DM, Rodriguez E, Romano S, Stake J (2007) The phylum Cnidaria: a review of phylogenetic patterns and diversity 300 years after Linnaeus. In: Zhang Z-Q, Shear WA (eds) Linnaeus Tercentenary: Progress in Invertebrate Taxonomy. Zootaxa 1668:1–766.

Deichmann E (1936) The Alcyonaria of the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 53:1-317 + 37pls

DeVictor ST, Morton SL (2007) Guide to the Shallow-Water (0-200m) Octocorals of the South Atlantic Bight. Online at:

Dube D, Kim K, Alker AP, Harvell CD (2002) Size structure and geographic variation in chemical resistance o f sea fan corals Gorgonia ventalina to a fungal pathogen. Marine Ecology Progress Series 231:139-150.

Ellis J, Solander D (1786) The natural history of many curious and uncommon Zoophytes, collected by the late John Ellis, systematically arranged and described by the late Daniel Solander. London: B. White and Son

Fabricus, K and Alderslade, P. (2001) Soft corals and sea fans. A comprehensive guide to the shallow-water genera of the central-west Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville. 264 pp

Felder DL, Camp DK (2009) Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas

Gosliner TM, Ghiselin MT (1987). A new species of Tritonia (Opisthobranchia: Gastropoda) from the Caribbean Sea. Bulletin of Marine Science 40(3): 428-436.

Goulet TL, Coffroth MA (1997) A within colony comparison of zooxanthella genotypes in the Caribbean gorgonian Plexaura kuna In: Lessios HA, Macintrye IG (eds) Proceedings of the Eighth International Coral Reef Symposium 2:1331-1334. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panama.

Goulet TL, Coffroth MA (2003) Genetic composition of zooxanthellae between and within colonies of the octocoral Plexaura kuna based on small subunit rDNA and multilocus DNA fingerprinting. Marine Biology 142:233-239

Goulet TL, Coffroth MA (2004) The genetic identity of dinoflagellate symbionts in Caribbean octocorals. Coral Reefs 23: 465-472

Grajales A, Aguilar C, Sánchez JA (2007). Phylogenetic reconstruction using secondary structures of Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2, rDNA): Finding the molecular and morphological gap in Caribbean gorgonian corals. BMC: Evolutionary Biology 7:90. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-7-90

Grasshoff M (1988) The genus Leptogorgia (Octocorallia: Gorgoniidae) in west Africa. Atlantide Report: Scientific Results of the Danish Expedition to the Coasts of Tropical West Africa 1945-1946 14:91-147

Grigg RW (2003) Invasion of a deep water coral bed by an alien species, Carijoa riisei. Coral Reefs 22:121-122.

Gutierrez-Rodriguez C, Lasker HR (2004a) Reproductive biology of the Caribbean gorgonian Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. Invertebrate Biology 123:53-66

Gutierrez-Rodriguez C, Lasker HR (2004b) Microsatellite variation reveals high levels of genetic variability and population structure in the gorgonian coral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae across the Bahamas. Molecular Ecology 13:2211-2221

Harvell D, Kim K, Quirolo C, Weir J, Smith G (2001) Coral bleaching and disease: Contributors to 1998 mass mortality in Briareum asbestinum (Octocorallia, Gorgonacea). Hydrobiologia 460:97-104.

Humann P, Deloach N (2002) Reef Coral Identification. Jacksonville: New World Publications Inc.

Jordán, E. 1989. Gorgonian community structure and reef zonation patterns of Yucatán coral reefs. Bulletin of Marine Science 45:670-696

Kahng SE, Grigg RW (2005) Impact of an alien octocoral (Carijoa riisei) on black corals in Hawaii. Coral Reefs 24(4):556-562.

Kim EAB, Lasker HR, Coffroth MA, Kim K (2004) Morphological and genetic variation across reef habitats in a broadcast-spawning gorgonian coral. Hydrobiologia 530/531:423-432

Kirk N, Ward J, Harvell D, Coffroth MA (2005) Zooxanthella diversity within diseased and healthy seafans (Gorgonia, Octocorallinacea). Biological Bulletin 209:227-234

Kirk NL, Andras JP, Harvell CD, Santos SR, Coffroth MA (2009) Population structure of Symbiodinium associated with the common sea fan, Gorgonia ventalina, in the Florida Keys across distance, depth, and time. Marine Biology 156:1609-1623

Lasker HR (2003) Zooxanthella densities within a Caribbean octocoral during bleaching and nonbleaching years. Coral Reefs 22(1):23-26

Lasker HR (2005) Gorgonian Mortality During a Thermal Event in the Bahamas. Bulletin of Marine Science 76:155-16

Lasker HR, Coffroth MA (1983) Octocoral distributions at Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. Marine Ecology Progress Series 13:21-28

Lasker HR, Coffroth MA (1985) Vegetative reproduction, clonal spread and histocompatibility in a Caribbean gorgonian. Proceedings of the Fifth International Coral Reef Congress, Tahiti 4:331-336

Lasker HR, Coffroth MA (1988) Temporal and spatial variability among grazers: Variability in the distribution of the gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum on octocorals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 43:285-295

Lasker HR, Coffroth MA, FitzGerald LM (1988) Foraging patterns of Cyphoma gibbosum on octocorals: The role of host choice and feeding preference. Biological Bulletin 174:254-266

Lasker HR, Kim K, Coffroth MA (1996) Reproductive and genetic variation among Caribbean gorgonians: the differentiation of Plexaura kuna, new species. Bulletin of Marine Science 58:277-288

Lasker HR, Brazeau DA, Calderon J, Coffroth MA, Kim K (1996) In situ rates of fertilization among broadcast spawning gorgonian corals. Biological Bulletin 190:45-55

Lasker HR, Kim K, Coffroth MA (1998) Production, settlement and survival of plexaurid gorgonian recruits. Marine Ecology Progress Series 162:111-123

Lasker HR and Coffroth MA (1999) Responses of clonal reef taxa to environmental change. American Zoologist 39:92-103

Lewis CL, Coffroth MA (2004) The acquisition of exogenous algal symbionts by an Octocoral after bleaching. Science 304:1490-1492

McFadden CS, France SC, Sánchez JA, Alderslade P (2006) A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) based on mitochondrial protein coding sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41:513–527

McFadden CS, Sánchez JA, France SC (2010) Molecular Phylogenetic Insights into the Evolution of Octocorallia: A Review. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50(3):389-410

McFadden CS, Benayahu Y, Pante E, Thoma JN, Nevarez PA, France SC (2011) Limitations of mitochondrial gene barcoding in Octocorallia. Molecular Ecology Resources 11:19-31

Milne-Edwards H, Haime J (1857) Historie naturelle des coralliaires ou polypes proprement dits. Pris: Libraire Encylopedique de Roret.

[MSIP] Marine Species Identification Portal, an initiative of ETI BioInformatics in the KeyToNature programme (a project in the EC e-contentPlus Programme). Murdoch T (2006) Population outbreak of the Tritonia hamnerorum nudibranch, an obligate grazer on the purple sea fan Gorgonia ventalina, across Bermuda’s northern reefs in 2005. BREAM: Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Assessment and Mapping Programme Bermuda Biodiversity Project, May 8, 2006.

[OBIS] Ocean Biogeographic Information System:

Reijnen BT, Hoeksema BW, Gittenberger E (2010) Host specificity and phylogenetic relationships among Atlantic Ovulidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Contributions to Zoology 79 (2) 69-78.

Rypien K (2008) The origins and spread of Aspergillus sydowii, an opportunistic pathogen of Caribbean gorgonian corals. Ph.D. dissertation. Cornell University. 113 p.

Sánchez JA (2001) Systematics of the Southwestern Caribbean Muriceopsis Aurivillius (Cnidaria: Octocorallia) with description of a new species. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington 10:160-180

Sánchez JA (2004) Evolution and dynamics of branching colonial form in marine modular Cnidarians: Gorgonian Octocorals. Hydrobiologia 530(1):283-290

Sánchez JA (2009) Systematics of the candelabrum gorgonian corals Eunicea Lamouroux; Plexauridae; Octocorallia; Cnidaria). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 157: 237-263

Sánchez JA, Díaz JM, Zea S (1997) Gorgonian communities in two contrasting environments on oceanic atolls of the southwestern Caribbean. Bulletin of Marine Science 61(2):61-72

Sánchez JA, Mcfadden CS, France SC, Lasker HR (2003) Molecular phylogenetic analyses of shallow-water Caribbean octocorals. Marine Biology 142:975-987

Sánchez JA, Lasker HR, Taylor DJ (2003) Phylogenetic analyses among Octocorals ( Cnidaria ) according to mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences (lsu-rRNA, 16S and ssu-RNA, 18S) support two convergent clades of branching goronians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29:31-42

Sánchez JA, Lasker HR (2003) Patterns of Morphologic Integration in Branching Colonies of Marine Modular Organisms: supra-module organization in Gorgonian Corals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Science 270:2039-2044 (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2471)

Sánchez JA, Lasker HR, Nepomuceno EG, Sánchez JD, Woldenberg MJ (2004) Branching and Self-Organization in Marine Modular Colonial Organisms: a Model. American Naturalist 163(3) (0003-0147/2004/16303-20458)

Sheppard C (2011) Coralpedia v 1.0: a guide to Caribbean corals, octocorals and sponges.

Smith G, Ives LD, Nagelkerken IA, Ritchie KB (1996) Aspergillosis associated with Caribbean sea fan mortalities. Nature 382:487

[STRI] Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Bocas del Toro Species Database:

Toledo-Hernandez C, Zuluaga-Montero A, Bones-Gonzalez A, Rodriguez A, Sabat AM, Bayman P (2008) Fungi in healthy and diseased sea fans (Gorgonia ventalina): is Aspergillus sydowii always the pathogen? Coral Reefs 27:707-714.

Utinomi H (1961) A revision of the nomenclature of the family Nephtheidae (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea): II. The Boreal genera Gersemia, Duva, Drifa and Pseudodrifa (n.g.). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 9:229-246

Verseveldt J (1978) On some Telestacea and Alcyonacea (Coelenterata: Octocorallia) from the West Indian region. Zoologische Mededelingen (Leiden) 53:41-47

Verseveldt J, Bayer FM (1988) Revision of the genera Bellonella, Eleutherobia, Nidalia, and Nidaliopsis (Octocorallia: Alcyoniidae and Nidaliidae), with descriptions of two new genera. Zoologische Verhandelingen 245:1-131

Wainwright SA, Dillon JR (1969) On the Orientation of Sea Fans (Genus Gorgonia). Biological Bulletin 136(1):130-139.

Weinheimer AJ, Spraggins RL (1969) The occurrence of two new prostaglandin derivatives (15-epi-PGA2 and its acetate, methyl ester) in the gorgonian Plexaura homomalla. Chemistry of coelenterates 15. Tetrahedron Letters No. 59:5185-5188.

Wirtz P, Melo G de, Grave S de (2009) Symbioses of decapod crustaceans along the coast of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Marine Biodiversity Records 2:1-9, doi:10.1017/S175526720999087X

Williams GC (1995) Living genera of sea pens (Coelenterata: Octocorallia: Pennatulacea): Illustrated key and synopses. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 113:93-140

Williams GC (2001) California Academy of Sciences Octocoral Research Center. Octocoral Classification (Higher Taxa) web page. Accessed 2006 Nov. 29

Wirshing HH, Messing CG, Douady CJ, Reed J, Stanhope MJ, Shivji MS (2005) Molecular evidence for multiple lineages in the gorgonian family Plexauridae (Anthozoa: Octocorallia). Marine Biology 147(2):497-508

[WoRMS] World Register of Marine Species:

Wright EP, Studer T (1889) Report on the Alcyonaria collected by H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-1876. Report on the Scientific Results of the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 , Zoology. 31:i-lxxvii+1-314, 43 pls.

Yoshioka PM, Yoshioka BB (1991) A comparison of the survivorship and growth of shallow-water gorgonian species of Puerto Rico. Marine Ecology Progress Series 69:253-260

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