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


Key to Families of Shallow Water (0-200m) Octocorals of the South Atlantic Bight

Subclass Octocorallia (=Alcyonaria) - Couplet 1

1a. – Colonies attached to substrate with a basal disc or holdfast. Colony generally moderately branching to highly arborescent (although a few species may have a single unattached stalk). No leaf-like structures. No oozooid present. Cortical sclerites present in all species; medullar or axial sclerites present in some species
Order Alcyonacea............................…...…2

Bellonella rubistella, showing base attached to substrate branching pattern of Muricea pendula
holdfast of Muricea pendula

top left: Bellonella rubistella, showing base attached to substrate; top right: branching pattern of Muricea pendula; bottom: holdfast of Muricea pendula

1b. – Colonies with a basal muscular peduncle for anchoring in soft substrate. Growth form foliose, bilateral, whip-like or clavate, but not branching, sometimes with leaf-like structures on stem. oozooid present, with autozooids and siphonozooids on rachis. Sclerites usually present in form of three-flanged rods, plates or needles, never spindles, but absent in axis
Order Pennatulacea…....................................…9

Sclerobelemnon theseus, showing peduncleRenilla reniformis, showing peduncleVirgularia presbytes, showing leaf structures
left: Sclerobelemnon theseus, showing peduncle; middle: Renilla reniformis, showing peduncle; right: Virgularia presbytes, showing leaf structures

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