treatment provided by
Taxon classification Animalia Zoantharia Sphenopidae
7. Palythoa sp. Figures 6C, D, 7
(n=2): RMNH Coel 40508, Fauna Malesiana Maluku Expedition station MAL.13, west coast near Larike, Ambon, Moluccas (03°43'S, 127°56'E), depth = 3 m, collected on November 15, 1996; RMNH Coel 40512, Pelabuhan Ratu, southwest Java (07°01'N, 106°34'E), collected on October 13, 1977, by P.H. van Doesburg.
This group consists of two specimens that do not clearly fit with previously described Palythoa species. Both specimens have dimensions very different from other Palythoa specimens reported here; whether this is due to unusual fixation or relaxation methods, or to true phenotypic differences is unknown.
RMNH Coel 40508 (Figure 6C) has very long ‘liberae’ polyps (average 23.6 mm height, n=4 polyps) that are more robust (average 5 mm, n=4 polyps) than seen in Palythoa heliodiscus , but with almost no development of the coenenchyme, unlike as in Palythoa mutuki or other closely related species. As well, this specimen is from 3 meters depth, a shallower depth than usually seen for Palythoa heliodiscus .
RMNH Coel 40512 (Figure 6D) is a small ‘intermediae’ colony consisting of four polyps that are squat and robust (average width 8.3 mm, n=3 polyps, height approximately same as width) with large oral discs (average 12 mm in diameter, n=3 polyps) with no tentacles visible and a large oral opening.
Regions recorded in this study (Figure 7). Southwest Java (2), Moluccas (14).
Previous records. NA.
The morphology of these specimens do not clearly match any described species from the central Indo-Pacific. In particular, specimen RMNH Coel 40512 is different than any other zoantharian previously observed by the first author. However, it is unknown if fixation has resulted in degradation of fine scale structures (e.g. tentacles, which are absent), but the specimen is clearly a zoantharian due to sand encrustation in body wall.
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