The South Atlantic Bight
Octocoral Morphology

Gorgonacean Bauplan

List of Species

published version (DeVictor & Morton, Zootaxa 2599)
see this for keys

Occurrence Table

Notes on the Species
Carijoa riisei
Scleranthelia rugosa
Telesto fruticulosa
Telesto nelleae
Telesto sanguinea
Bellonella rubistella
Pseudodrifa nigra
Nidalia occidentalis
Iciligorgia schrammi
Diodogorgia nodulifera
Titanideum frauenfeldii
Muricea pendula
Thesea nivea
Bebryce cinerea
Bebryce parastellata
Scleracis guadalupensis
Leptogorgia hebes
Leptogorgia punicea
Leptogorgia cardinalis
Leptogorgia virgulata
Leptogorgia setacea
Leptogorgia euryale
Viminella barbadensis
Renilla reniformis
Sclerobelemnon theseus
Stylatula elegans
Virgularia presbytes

References Cited

Suggested Reading/Viewing


Family Anthothelidae

Titanideum frauenfeldii (Kölliker, 1865)

Solanderia Frauenfeldii Kölliker 1865:141, pl. 19 figs 19-20,22.

Remarks. Titanideum frauenfeldii is a very common species occupying hardbottom habitats in the SAB. The colonies are moderately branched (or unbranched if small), with stiff, cylindrical, rod-like branches reaching 8 mm in diameter. The coenenchyme may appear smooth, slightly indented, or have slightly protruding polyp mounds. They vary from yellow to deep red in color. The ring of boundary canals separating the cortex and medulla is typical of this family and is generally very apparent when examining the branch in cross section. Also present is a layer of solenia, which divides the cortex into two layers— a thin, densely spiculated outer cortex and a thick, spongy inner cortex. The cortical sclerites consist of variable pink tuberculated spheroids and tuberculated branched bodies, and the medulla is filled with densely packed, colorless branching rods, most of which are oriented longitudinally.
Some colonies examined (S2314, S2655, S2660) for this work do not appear consistent with the typical T. frauenfeldii morphology. These colonies are not stiff, generally unbranched, and have protruding conical polyp mounds. The width of the stems range from 2–4 mm and the tips are somewhat inflated. Growing tips at both ends of some colonies suggests that they were unattached. The color of the colonies varies from pinkish orange to white. Spiculation of these colonies is consistent with the description of T. frauenfeldii in Bayer (1961) and distinguishes them from any other member of the western Atlantic Anthothelidae. Information on the nature of this morphological variation is not available, however all of the species examined for this work that display the variance were collected from 79–91 m, which is considerably deeper than some of the hardbottom habitats that the common morphotype of T. frauenfeldii occupies. This observation might suggest further investigation of the role of depth in the morphological differences exhibited by this species.
There are numerous lots of this species in the NMNH collections representing the shallow SAB.

Atlantic distribution: North Carolina to Cuba, north Gulf of Mexico, 13-293 m (Deichmann, 1936; Bayer, 1961; NMNH collections; SERTC collections).

Titanideum frauenfeldii whole colony.
Figure 1. Titanideum frauenfeldii whole colony (approximately 26 cm in height).

Titanideum frauenfeldii (in situ), showing expanded polyps. Figure 2. Titanideum frauenfeldii (in situ), showing expanded polyps.

Titanideum frauenfeldii sclerites (S2658); a-e) radiate bodies from cortex; f, g) small radiate bodies from cortex; h-j) branching rods from medulla

  Figure 3. Titanideum frauenfeldii sclerites (S2658); a-e) radiate bodies from cortex (scale bar = 20 µm); f, g) small radiate bodies from cortex (scale bar = 10 µm); h-j) branching rods from medulla (scale bar = 50 µm).

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