Opresko, D. M., Wagner, D., Montgomery, A. D. & Brugler, M. R., 2012, Discovery of Aphanipathes verticillata (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia) in the Hawaiian Islands, Zootaxa 3348 (1), pp. 24-39: 26

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http://doi.org/ 10.11646/zootaxa.3348.1.2

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The species Aphanipathes verticillata Brook   belongs to the family Aphanipathidae Opresko, 2004   . This family is characterized by having skeletal spines with distinct conical tubercles and with the density of spines not increasing substantially on larger branches or stem. Other features of the family include: 1) polypar spines slightly to distinctly larger than the abpolypar spines; 2) maximum height of polypar spines usually more than two times the width at base; and 3) polypar spines either subequal in size, or with the circumpolypar spines slightly to significantly taller than other polypar spines and with the hypostomal spines similar in size to circumpolypar spines or greatly reduced or absent. The corallum of aphanipathids can be irregularly bushy or flabellate; the stem and branches can be simple or pinnulate. Pinnulated species do not have subpinnules. The polyps of aphanipathids are mostly 0.7–1.3 mm in transverse diameter (range 0.5 to about 2.5 mm).

Part of the original diagnosis of the family ( Opresko, 2004) included a description of the tentacles of polyps as possibly being short, blunt, and subequal in size. Although the tentacles do have such an appearance after preservation and may have a similar appearance when the polyps are alive and partially contracted, there is some evidence that in fully expanded polyps the sagittal tentacles are longer than the laterals and the tips of the tentacles are pointed rather than rounded. In this regard the polyps would be similar to those found in the family Antipathidae   .