Alcyonium rubistella Deichmann, 1936:49-50,
pl. 1fig. 2, pl. 3 figs. 1-7.
Remarks. This species is the only member of the Alcyoniidae found in the shallow SAB, and typically inhabits deeper areas. This work represents the first record of Bellonella rubistella in the SAB.
The colony from the SAB examined here is smaller than the USNM specimens from more southern or tropical localities. The colony is unbranched and attached to a piece of rock. The base is 8 mm wide and total length is 17 mm. The calyces are more crowded at the tip and the stalk near the base is bare. The calyces are 1.5 mm in diameter and appear light pink around the apertures, when contracted they have eight lobes which develop into eight grooves along the colony surface. The partially exsert anthocodiae reveal a collaret and points arrangement of the sclerites. The coenenchyme is ivory.
The stalk bears sclerites in the form of elongate acute spindles, slightly flattened, up to 0.3 mm in length, club-like spindles, and small (< 0.1 mm) tuberculated rods. The anthocodiae contain sclerites as elongate needles, some curved, 0.2–0.5 mm in length. Most spindles are white with pink rods occurring in the calyces.
Other colonies from tropical regions are recorded as having a digitiform shape that narrows distally to more or less a point, and bright red calyces (Verseveldt 1978). The examined specimen more closely resembles the figure in Deichmann (1936) than those in Verseveldt (1978).
Atlantic distribution: South Carolina, Florida,
Caribbean, Colombia to Venezuela, 24-366 m (Deichmann, 1936; Verseveldt,
1978; Verseveldt and Bayer, 1988; NMNH collections; SERTC collection).
Figure 3. Bellonella rubistella (S2363)
sclerites. a) needle from anthocodia; b-g) spindles from coenenchyme.
Scale bar = 100 µm.
Figure 1. Bellonella rubistella, preserved specimen (S2363,
colony height = 17mm).
Figure 2. Bellonella rubistella (S2363),
Figure 4. Bellonella rubistella, preserved
specimen (USNM 55376) from Venezuela, showing red calyces. Scale
bar = 1 cm.