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


Order Alcyonacea
Suborder Holaxonia

Octocorals with unspiculated axis and often a soft, chambered central core.
When using sclerites alone, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two families of Holaxonia represented in the SAB. The SAB Plexauridae have a much more diverse assemblage of sclerite morphology as a whole than the SAB Gorgoniidae, but there are some genera (i.e. Thesea) that contain spindles that initially resemble those in the Gorgoniidae. Spindle size and degree of loculation surrounding the axis must also be considered while attempting to place holaxonian specimens in the correct family.

Family Plexauridae

Members of the families Paramuriceidae and Muriceidae were reclassified in Bayer 1981 to be included in the Plexauridae. Members of this family occurring in the SAB have an unspiculated, horny axis and a hollow, axial core that is surrounded by a loculated cortex. Generally the calyces have a strong armature of sclerites.

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

2a. – Colony stout and branching, with branches and stems up to 3 mm thick; calyces closely set and numerous

Bebryce grandis Deichmann, 1936

Bebryce grandis
Bebryce grandis (scale bar = 1 cm)

2b. – Colony slender, unbranched or sparsely branched; stem not exceeding 1 mm; calyces widely set apart and sparse

Bebryce parastellata Deichmann, 1936

Bebryce parastella stem and calyces
Bebryce parastellata
(scale bar = 1 mm)

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