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A new deep-water Sinularia leather coral is discovered

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 06, 2017 09:00 AM
Scientists surveying the deep mesophotic reefs of the Northern Red Sea (Eilat) discovered a new leather coral. Sinularia mesophotica is the first Red Sea mesophotic soft coral discovered in nearly forty years.
A new deep-water Sinularia leather coral is discovered

A patch of Sinularia mesophotic displaying its funnel-shaped morphology.

Sinularia mesophotica is an encrusting, funnel-shaped soft coral with frilly appearance, bearing great resemblance to Sinularia dura, the common "cabbage coral" many reefkeepers have kept.  Unlike most Sinularia corals found in more shallow reefs, Sinularia mesophotica is only known from deeper waters below 60 meters/200 feet, AKA the mesophotic coral ecosystem (hence the new species' latin name).  Even at depths where sunlight struggles to penetrate, S. mesophotica is still a photosynthetic (zooxanthellate) coral. Its shape helps it collect as much light as possible.

The new octocoral species is described in ZooKeys.

Sinularia mesophotic with its polyps extended
Sinularia mesophotic with its polyps extended

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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