Muricea pendula Verrill,
Muricea pendula Verrill, 1864a:45.
Remarks. Muricea pendula
displays branching that is in one plane and pinnate, with the twigs
turning upward at nearly a right angle. Colonies may attain a large
size (up to 0.5 m) and take on a fan-like form. The prominent calyces
may be spread out around the base of the colony and are quite crowded
near the tips. This species displays the strong opercular armature
indicative of the genus Muricea. When the polyps are retracted,
the large (up to 1.5 mm) calycular spindles extend beyond the operculum
creating a spiny or shelf-like effect to the calyces. The large
spindles are warty and may have one side that has numerous small
spines. Smaller acute, warty spindles and radiates are found in
the body wall, particularly near the base or coenenchyme surrounding
the axis. The colony is a dark magenta to bright red when alive,
and a dark to dull orange when preserved or dried. The sclerites
There are numerous lots of this species in the NMNH from
the shallow SAB.
Atlantic distribution: North Carolina to Florida
Keys; Gulf of Mexico, 13-125 m (Deichmann, 1936; Bayer, 1961; NMNH
collections; SERTC collection).
Figure 4. Muricea pendula (S1328); a-c)
large spindles from operculum (scale bar = 500 µm); d,e) elongate
spindles from coenenchyme (scale bar = 100 µm); f, g) small
spindles from inner coenenchyme (scale bar = 50 µm); h, i)
spindles from coenenchyme (scale bar = 100 µm)
1. Muricea pendula, live specimen (S1328), whole colony
(approximately 30 cm in height).
Figure 2 (left). Muricea pendula live specimen
(S1328), stem tip with expanded calyces.
Figure 3 (right). Muricea pendula, preserved specimen (USNM
49748), showing orientation of sclerites in operculum and coenenchyme
(image taken at 50x, F. Bayer/ NMNH).
Figure 4. Muricea pendula in situ.