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Free Content Shallow-Water Gorgonians (Octocorallia) of Roatan, Honduras

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Twenty-three species of gorgonians were collected from coral reefs along the southern shores of Roatan during March 1979. Included are 13 plexaurids, counting two growth forms of Plexaura homomalla and Eunicea tourneforti, eight gorgoniids, one ellisellid, and one scleraxonian. Reef habitats included back-reef rubble zones and flats, patch reefs, and a fore-reef slope. Collections were made using SCUBA from depths of 1 to 25 m. Identifications were based on examination of spicule structure and colony morphology. This paper provides information for recognizing Roatan species and includes several which have developed locally-adapted populations that differ in colonial structure from holotypes described by Bayer (1961). Two species collected at Roatan, Pseudopterogorgia hummelincki and Ellisella elongata, have not previously been reported from the Caribbean coast of Central America. Colony structure, spiculation, habitat and geographic distribution are considered. A table summarizes the distribution of shallow-water gorgonians along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1992-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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