Invertebrates

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Examples of identifying species


Identifying a species can range from being very easy, to nearly impossible with the naked eye.  Soft corals notoriously fall into the difficult to ID.  As a result, we all need to be very cautious and avoid using assumptions when ID'ing a soft corals. 


Below are some anatomy features to corals, as well as some examples of soft coral ID, to demonstrate the potential difficulty.

Genus Pocillopora

This genus is a bit easier to identify and an exact specie can be determined with a high quality photograph. 


Below are 3 examples from the western & central Indian ocean

Pocillopora meandrina

P. meandrina has the following characteristics:

    •    Verrucae do not integrate with branches

    •    Colony consist of upright branches

    •    Colony consist of short, compact branches

    •    Verrucae are neat, uniform on branch and consistent in size

Pocillopora verrucosa

P. verrucosa has the following characteristics:

    •    Verrucae do not integrate with branches

    •    Colony consist of upright branches

    •    Colony consist of short, compact branches

    •    Verrucae are irregular in size and not uniform on branchize

Pocillopora grandis

P. grandis has the following characteristics:

    •    Verrucae do not integrate with branches

    •    Colony consist of upright branches

    •    Colony consist of elongated stout, upright flattened branches

    •    Verrucae are large and uniform on branch

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