Muricea hebes Verrill, 1864

Breedy, Odalisca & Guzman, Hector M., 2016, A revision of the genus Muricea Lamouroux, 1821 (Anthozoa, Octocorallia) in the eastern Pacific. Part II, ZooKeys 581, pp. 1-69: 51-54

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Muricea hebes Verrill, 1864


Taxon classification Animalia Alcyonacea Plexauridae

Muricea hebes Verrill, 1864   Figures 39, 40

Muricea hebes   (pars.) Verrill, 1864: 36.

Muricea hebes   Verrill 1866: 328; Verrill 1868b: 411-412; Verrill 1869: 439-441; Kükenthal 1919: 752; Kükenthal 1924: 146; Hickson 1928: 365-366; Riess 1929: 395-396; Harden 1979: 151.


Lectotype. YPM 564a, dry, Pearl Islands, Panamá, F.H. Bradley, 1866. Paralectotypes. YPM 564 b-f, dry, Pearl Islands, Panamá, F.H. Bradley, 1866.


The lectotype is 6 cm long and 9 cm wide (Fig. 39A); it has a worm tube in one of the lower lateral branches. Two slightly flattened stems, 5-6 mm in diameter, arise from an oval holdfast, about 1 cm diameter, almost devoid of coenenchyme (Fig. 39A). The branching is irregularly dichotomous and multiplanar (Fig. 39A). The stems extend 12-15 mm and subdivide in secondary branches that bifurcate up to 4 times at close angles 30°-40°, and curve upwards. Branches are 10-12 mm apart. They are flattened, 5-8 mm in diameter, little wider at the tips, 6-9 mm in diameter. Unbranched terminal ends are up to 3.2 cm long. Axes are brownish. Calyces are all around the branches, curved upwards and close together, slightly imbricate (Fig. 39A), up to 1.8 mm long, and around 1 mm wide. Polyps are on the upper and inner part of the calyces, nearly covered by the incurved outer border of the calyces. The adaxial border of the calyx is imperceptible. The coenenchyme is thick, composed of pale yellow and yellowish sclerites (Fig. 39B). The outer coenenchymal and calycular spindles are of various types (Fig. 40 A–B), unilateral spinous with a warty inner side and a small outer portion with projecting spines, and with the inner side warty, and the outer side with large sharp spines, prickly spindles and spinous club-like spindles. These sclerites are 0.32-0.83 mm long and 0.14-0.2 mm wide. They vary from elongated to shorter forms, with round ends, or with one end tapered and the other wide and blunt, or with one end acute or bifurcated, or tapered at both ends (Fig. 40A). Furthermore, smaller forms are present, 0.24-0.28 mm long and 0.07-0.1 mm wide (Fig. 40B), that concentrate around the calyx border (Fig. 40B). The axial sheath is composed of warty radiates and spindles, 0.15-0.40 mm long and 0.053-0.15 mm wide (Fig. 40C). Anthocodial sclerites are warty rods, 0.054-0.45 mm long and 0.015-0.1 mm wide, some with distal spines (Fig. 40D).

Colour of the colony is yellowish brown.


Found in México in Pájaros Island and reported for Cabo Pulmo, Gulf of California (according to Covarrubias et al. 1996). Type locality, Pearl Islands, Panamá.


The species was created by Verrill in 1864 with specimens from Acapulco, México collected by Agassiz. Later Verrill (1869) made a more detailed description and included specimens from Nicaragua and Panamá. However, the type series in the YPM only includes specimens from Panamá collected by Bradley. The specimens from México were included in Muricea purpurea   . However Muricea hebes   was found in Mexican islands by J.L. Carballo. The specimen YPM 564a is herein designated as the lectotype of Muricea hebes   to clearly establish its taxonomic status.

Other material revised.

MÉXICO: M 61, dry, Pájaros Island, Mazatlan Bay, Sinaloa, 5-25 m, J.L., 3 February 1999.