TWO NEW ENCRUSTING ANEMONES SPECIES FOUND IN CORAL REEF CAVES FROM JAPAN AND NEW CALEDONIA
The cracks and crevices of coral reefs of the Japanese island of Okinawa and the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, have proven to be the habitat of two new species of anemones from the genus Palythoa, which have just been discovered.
And surprisingly, unlike almost all known species within the genus Palythoa, these two new species do not have light-harvesting symbiotic zooxanthellae, having lost them as they adapted to life in cracks and caves in shallow coral reefs. Zooxanthellae are symbiotic, photosynthetic, single-celled algae that can provide host species with energy from the sun.
- Reference (open access): Irei et al. 2015 Descriptions of two azooxanthellate Palythoa species (Subclass Hexacorallia, Order Zoantharia) from the Ryukyu Archipelago, southern Japan. ZooKeys,
- Photo: Palythoa mizigama found in Okinawa Island, Japan, and a single polyp of Palythoa umbrosa under stereomicroscope. Scale = 0.5 cm
by Yuka Irei.