Virgularis elegans Danielssen, 1860:277.
Remarks. This species has distinct needle-like sclerites arranged in a supporting fan in the basal section of the polyp leaves, which contain up to six autozooids. There are approximately 10 large needles in each fan, reaching 1 mm in length, with smaller needles interspersed. These leaves and fans flank the axis in an alternate opposite, bilateral arrangement. The axis measures up to 0.4 mm in diameter. The polyps contain rod-like sclerites which are not easily visible. In the specimens examined that were complete, the leaf pairs are closer together towards the peduncle but more spread out distally.
Of the three specimens examined, one is a fragment and two are complete. The complete specimens have significantly smaller polyps and axis diameter, and only reach a total length of 65–75 mm. The fragment has a wider axis width and leaves, which are separated by approximately 4 mm. All specimens have a white axis with light brown polyps, and white needles.
Atlantic distribution: Norway (type), New Jersey
to Cape Canaveral, Dry Tortugas, 20-812 m (Deichmann, 1936; Bayer,
1958; Williams 1995; NMNH collections; SERTC collection).
Figure 1. Stylatula elegans, preserved specimens. left)
S2594; right) USNM 10068 (scale bar = 1mm)
Figure 2. Stylatula elegans (S2594), showing
sclerites in fan structure beneath autozooids.