The South Atlantic Bight
Octocoral Morphology

Gorgonacean Bauplan

List of Species

Occurence Table

Key to the Families of Octocorals in the South Atlantic Bight

Key to the Species of


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 grandis
Bebryce parastellata
Scleracis guadalupensis
Leptogorgia hebes
Leptogorgia punicea
Leptogorgia cardinalis
Leptogorgia virgulata
Leptogorgia setacea
Leptogorgia euryale
Ctenocella (Ellisella) barbadensis
Renilla reniformis
Sclerobelemnon theseus
Stylatula elegans
Virgularia presbytes

References Cited

Suggested Reading/Viewing


Suborder Stolonifera
Family Clavulariidae

Octocorals with monopodial branching and an axial polyp from which all lateral daughter polyps arise.
There are five species belonging to 3 genera of clavulariid octocorals in the SAB. The species of Telesto represented in this region are often distinguished by the presence and orientation of the flat anthocodial rods in the polyp tentacles. These rods may be difficult to see, especially if the polyps are retracted into the calyces. Variability in these features can be seen not only within colonies, but also within individual polyps. It appears that if larvae are present within the calyces the polyps are reduced in size, making it difficult to distinguish the orientation of the tentacular rods. Relaxing the polyps prior to preservation may make identification easier (see methods).
Both forms of Scleranthelia rugosahave an encrusting growth form that make them difficult to recognize in situ.

Key to species of Clavulariidae in the shallow (to 200m) South Atlantic Bight
Couplet 2

2a. – Calyces connected by slender (1 mm) ribbon-like stolons

Scleranthelia rugosa (Pourtalès 1867)
growth form rugosa

Scleranthelia rugosa var. rugosa
Scleranthelia rugosa var. rugosa

2b. – Calyces connected by sheet-like membranous stolons

Scleranthelia rugosa (Pourtalès 1867)
growth form musiva Studer

Scleranthelia rugosa var. musiva encrusting a rock Scleranthelia rugosa var. musiva encrusting a dead octocoral branch
Scleranthelia rugosa var. musiva; top: encrusting a rock; bottom: encrusting a dead octocoral branch

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