[Coral-List] Identity of blue octocoral off NC??

Michael Janes mpjanes at aquatouch.com
Tue Feb 20 17:07:30 EST 2007

Dear Joe,

Charles Fasano mentioned that a very prolific Hawaiian octocoral may be the 
species you have in North Carolina. I would suggest just based on the 
photographs taken by Marc that Sarcothelia edmondsoni (now Sansibia 
edmondsoni (Alderslade, 2000)), and other Sansibia species be ruled out. I 
have not seen the Hawaiian species enter the aquarium trade, it is illegal 
to collect there, and ships very badly. Other Sansibia species are present 
in the aquarium trade but there are a few attributes to this genus that are 
not apparent in the photos you posted. Sansibia is a photosynthetic genus of 
the family Xeniidae. The blue pigment seen in colonies is a result of 
reflected light from the many sclerites in the tentacles and pinnules. Your 
photos suggest an azooxanthellate species with translucent tissue that 
appears to have blue pigment. The specimen in your photos does not seem to 
have much rigidity in the polyps which may be due in part to a lack of 
sclerites, hard to tell from the photographs.

You certainly have an interesting specimen and one that I have not seen from 
the Atlantic. It may still be an introduced species as Charles suggested. To 
help with the taxonomy of this octocoral you may want to fix a sample of the 
tissue and isolate some of the sclerites or skeletal elements. Sclerite 
sample photos can be posted on the Octocoral Resource Network forum at 
www.octocoralresearch.com where many octocoral taxonomist converse.

Hope this helps.


Michael P. Janes
President & Senior Aquarist
12040 North 32nd Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85028

(602) 765-9058 Phone
(602) 765-9044 Fax

web: www.aquatouch.com

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Pawlik, Joseph" <pawlikj at uncw.edu>
To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:22 AM
Subject: [Coral-List] Identity of blue octocoral off NC??

> Coral-listers,
> Can anyone help with identifying this light-blue recumbent octocoral
> from the offshore reefs of North Carolina?  The request and photos are
> from Marc Neill with the North Carolina Aquarium at Ft. Fisher.  Here
> are the photos:
> http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o93/FishBait_photos/PC272938mod1.jpg
> http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o93/FishBait_photos/PC272931mod1.jpg
> http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o93/FishBait_photos/PC272930mod1.jpg
> Thanks for the help!
> Joe
> **************************************************************
> Joseph R. Pawlik, Professor
> UNCW Center for Marine Science
> 5600 Marvin K Moss Lane
> Wilmington, NC  28409   USA
> pawlikj at uncw.edu; Office:(910)962-2377; Cell:(910)232-3579
> Website: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/index.html
> PDFs: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/pubs2.html
> **************************************************************
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