Species Descriptions and Ecological Observations of Black Corals (Antipatharia) from Trinidad
Abstract:Eight species of black coral were found off northwest Trinidad, West Indies. Antipathes thamnea n. sp. is described and compared with specimens of the closely related species A. hirta Gray, 1857 and A. barbadensis (Brook), 1889. Two other species, A. atlantica Gray, 1857 and A. gracilis Gray, 1860, are redescribed and compared.
A sheltered site and one exposed to strong currents were sampled; A. gracilis was commoner at the former site and A. thamnea at the latter. Most species formed fan-shaped colonies orientated normal to the mainly unidirectional currents. Fans were usually dish-shaped with polyps borne on the convex downcurrent side. Colonies of A. atlantica from the exposed site were found to be more densely branched and to have thicker stems than sheltered colonies. Stems from both sites were elliptical in cross section with the long axis of the ellipse at right angles to the fan. Stomachs of polyps of four species were found to contain copepod remains. The occurrence of epizoites was noted; stalked barnacles were common. The results are discussed with relation to the nutritional and mechanical aspects of suspension feeding in currents.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1981-01-01
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