Telesto sanguinea Deichmann, 1936:41, Pl.
1 fig 3; Pl. 2 figs. 9-12.
Remarks. Telesto sanguinea colonies are monopodially branched and may have multiple branches rising from stolons. The daughter polyps sometimes develop into tertiary branches. The color of the coenenchyme is bright red but may be obscured or completely encrusted by fouling organisms such as sponges and bryozoans. The species may rarely be orange, pink or yellow (Bayer 1961). As is typical of the members of this genus in the Atlantic, there are eight longitudinal grooves present in the body wall of the primary polyp but they are sometimes more distinct near the calyces or the base of the colony.
This species, which may resemble Telesto fruticulosa, can be distinguished by the presence of a dense layer of flattened rods oriented vertically in the proximal region of the tentacles and two rows of rods oriented horizontally in the distal region of the tentacles, reaching the tip. The coenenchymal sclerites consist of small (0.2 mm) granules that are lumpy on one side and coarsely warted on the other, as well as blunt, branching bodies. There occurs some moderate fusion among the sclerites, usually in the form of 2–3 weakly connected individuals. The sclerites generally appear glassy but occasionally some opaque pink or white granular bodies are observed, often near the base of the colony. The sclerites are usually red and are consistent with the color of the colony.
This species appears to be relatively common in hardbottom communities in the SAB, and has a more southern range than T. fruticulosa.
Atlantic distribution: South Carolina to the Florida
Keys and Gulf of Mexico, 18-134 m (Deichmann, 1936; Bayer, 1961;
NMNH collections; SERTC collection).
Figure 1. Telesto sanguinea, preserved specimen (S2487)(scale
bar = 1 cm).
Figure 2. Close up of Telesto sanguinea
polyp, showing orientation of polyp sclerites.
Figure 3. Sclerites of Telesto sanguinea (USNM
50357). a) fused sclerites from body wall; b) sclerite from body
wall; c-f) sclerites from calyx wall; g-j) rods from polyp (scale
bar = 50 µm).