Nephthya nigra Pourtalès, 1868:130.
Remarks. This soft coral is generally found in deeper water along with other members of the Nephtheidae, and it is included in this guide based on one record. Pseudodrifa nigra is easily distinguished by the dark brown color (dull brown or gray in ethanol), pale longitudinal grooves from polyp tips to polyp base, and sclerites set en chevron along the length of the polyps. The stalk is short and fleshy with dozens of polyps crowded on a few very short branches. Sclerites from the coenenchyme are tuberculate rods, and the polyp walls contain clubs with foliate heads reaching 0.5 mm in length. This species has been found on Lophelia pertusa rubble and Keratoisis ornata colonies in deeper areas.
Atlantic distribution: South Carolina to the Florida
Keys, Bahamas, Cuba, 60-1153 m (Deichmann, 1936; Bayer, 1961; Utinomi,
1961; NMNH collections; SERTC collection).
Figure 1. Pseudodrifa nigra, live specimen, whole colony
(approximately 3 cm in height).
Figure 2. Pseudodrifa nigra (USNM 55234).
a,b) foliated clubs from polyp wall; c-g) = sclerites from body
wall (scale bar = 50 µm)